Friday, December 30, 2011

Will Anyone Read This: Thoughts on Everwood's "Foreverwood"

I wrote about the near-perfect first season of Everwood from May 2011 until September 2011. Subsequent seasons of Everwood never matched the quality or MAGIC of the first season, which is why I opted against writing a complete series re-watch. There were only so many ways, after all, that I could've criticized the never-ending Anne Heche arc in season three (it is NOT better on re-watch), or the never-ending Madison-Ephram love story in season two, or the nonsense baby arc of latter season three. Everwood wasn't a perfect series. Indeed, there are episodes and arcs that made me wonder why studios don't let television shows end after telling a complete and satisfying story in one season. I understand the television business concerns itself with money first and foremost and that creativity's sacrificed for the almighty $ (George RR Martin left Hollywood because his creativity was limited by budgets and studios). But hey, I suppose I'd make some sacrifices for the opportunity to write for television. Everwood produced enough good-to-great episodes in their run to justify their final three seasons.

It seems fitting that I write about the series finale of Everwood for the last post of 2011. I'll remind thee that I spent parts of spring and all of summer writing about season one (just in case one forgot that fact immediately after reading the first sentence of paragraph #1). Everwood was a show about loss and recovery. How does one go on after suffering a huge tragedy, such as the loss of a spouse or a parent? The show also dealt with themes of friendship, romance, love, abuse, filial bonds, community, discrimination and prejudices, and small-town American. The writers treated these themes with deftness and poignancy. Everwood wore its heart on its sleeve; one should always have a Kleenex box near by because Everwood would make one cry, or at least, feel a bit dusty.

Personally, the themes of loss and recovery resonated with me during this year. I spent portions of my season one reviews relating my own experiences with grief and loss. It was part-cathartic. I identified with Andy, Ephram and Delia. Greg Berlanti's "Pilot" script is incredibly perceptive on what it's like to lose a parent. The series was perceptive about the process of loss--the journey from grief to mourning, and the truth that the pain never entirely disappears, and that any small touch could irritate the wound (to paraphrase a sublime sentence from Tolstoy's War & Peace).

Andy Brown visited his wife's grave in the series finale to say his final goodbye to the woman he literally changed his life for following his death. Andy apologized for waiting too long to become the man she always deserved to be with. Her death fundamentally changed his life. He learned that the only way to sleep well at night is with the knowledge that you're a good parent and father. Andy went through a tremendous transformation during the four seasons. He made mistakes, HUGE mistakes, but he learned and grew from them. Andy and Ephram healed their fractured relationship. The great doctor Brown flew to New York, to talk to his deceased wife at her grave, because he planned on proposing to Nina, and he told her that pain and loss are unavoidable. The monologue included the essential themes and ideas of Everwood; it's poignant, honest, sad, and joyful. It's the most essential scene in the final because it just about completes Andy's arc. Everwood always belonged to Andy Brown.

Now for random and scattered thoughts:

-"Foreverwood" works as a season and series finale. The fourth season wasn't a ratings darling. The first hiatus of the season became a four month long hiatus. The show returned at the end of the March and aired uninterrupted until its June 2006 finale. Presumably, the ending of "Foreverwood" was shot after The CW chose not to bring the series to their network. Originally, the finale ended with the surprise arrival of goddamn Madison in Everwood. Amy's outside, with a Ferris wheel, waiting to declare her never-ending love for Ephram. Ephram listens to a message from Madison inside, and suddenly the growth and progress he made in season four disappeared. Had the show been renewed, I would've stopped watching the series. Madison always sucked. Nina was going to be pregnant but the identity of the father would've been unknown, leading to a soap-opera-ish deal between her, Jake and Andy. Cancellation actually saved the series from executing horrible creative decisions.

-Part of me enjoyed the happy ending for Harold and Rose, but another part of me loathes the convenience of the ending. I disliked Everwood's reliance on plot devices to shake things up and create drama. For instance, Harold lied to adoptive services about Rose's medical history because he didn't want cancer to ruin their chances of adoption; moreso, though, Harold wanted to wipe cancer away and forget it happened to his wife. #419 introduced a couple expecting a baby. The mother-to-be is a schizophrenic; the father has a rare blood cell disease that eventually kills him. The mother's then overwhelmed by her illness and the existence of the baby. Suddenly, we learn she's viewed Dr. Abbott as a father-figure yet we've never seen this woman until now. I liked the completion of Harold and Edna's arc more than the baby stuff, in which Edna agrees to live with her son and daughter-in-law as she tries to figure out how to go on without her Irv. It's sweet and heartfelt.

-The Bright-Hannah relationship was fine until the writers decided to have Bright cheat on her. I don't care about melodrama as long as it's earned in the narrative. One could argue that the series earned that arc because sex had been an issue between Bright and Hannah. The writer's introduced their "rut" followed by the cheating incident. Hannah doesn't speak to Bright again until he falls through a window and nearly dies (which is the most bizarre choice in the fourth season because Bright falls through the window at the end of act II, the doctor explains the head injury's life-threatening, there's surgery, characters assemble in the hospital waiting room, then he's fine and things return to normal, and it's never mentioned again).

-I thought I'd care more about Andy-Nina on a re-watch. I didn't though. Scott Wolf's Jake Hartman becomes a serious problem during the fourth season. The writers introduced Hartman's drug addiction past. First, he was a plastic surgeon, then a homely doctor, then the idea-man behind an AA type place in Everwood. His relationship with Nina lacked passion and conviction. We were constantly told by Nina or Jake that they loved one another, but the love never showed. Nothing was active between the characters. I felt frustrated by the amount of time it took for Andy and Nina to get together.

-It got dusty on the re-watch when Andy finally bought Delia her horse. Now, the horse scene didn't affect me as much as the conversation prior, when Andy told his daughter he's perfectly okay with the knowledge that her teenage self will hate him on more occasions than she loves him.

-The best scene will always be the final one between Amy and Ephram. Amy says the sweetest things to Ephram in front of a Ferris wheel and Ephram says the sweetest things to her. Madison always sucked because Amy and Ephram made so much sense together. Why the hell would Ephram be drawn to goddamn Madison when Amy Abbott's around? The scene's perfect. The panoramic shot of Everwood is an amazing final image of the series.

Happy New Year. See you in 2012 with an all-new HIMYM review.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Week 17 NFL Picks

THE WEEK 17 PICKS

It's Week 17. It usually sucks. Every few years week 17 delivers the excitement and thrill all fans want from the last week of regular season football. I still remember the insanity that was Josh McCown eliminating the Vikings on the final play of the season during the early aughts. The NFC Playoff Picture's essentially settled. The AFC will be the lone source of week 17 drama. I doubt fans outside of San Fran and New Orleans give a shit about which team clinches the second seed. Also, a team will win the NFC East this season, so that should be fine drama. Anyway, time for the picks:

Detroit over Green Bay

-Matt Flynn and the rest of the Packers second string will take the field in this one. I imagine Detroit will also rest some starters because they're locked in a wild card spot, though I'm unsure of what needs to happen for Atlanta to sneak into the 5 seed. Public opinion about the Lions has been wildly inconsistent through the regular season. When I criticized them, the media wrote them sonnets and sent the team chocolate candy hearts. When I don't criticize them, the media decrees the Lions are an undisciplined group of thugs. I assume the vitriol from the media's gambling related, or they just embraced the story. Suh was the easiest football player, besides James Harrison, to vilify. I don't care about this game.

San Francisco over St. Louis

-Reports surfaced this week that Steve Spagnulo's poised to replace Juan Castillo as the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. Spags, however, is ignorant of such things and is only focused on the game against the 49ers. I celebrated the Rams' season last year. I thought they were a great example of growth and progress. A year later, I feel like a fool. The 2011 Rams are a reminder of the costs of horrific drafting and long-term planning. I'll guess the Rams draft first overall and select Mr. Andrew Luck. As for the 49ers, I expect them to shut out Kellen Clemens and his Rams offense. Yep--the Rams will conclude their season by being shut out in consecutive weeks.

Miami over New York Jets

-Rex Ryan would choose Mark Sanchez over Peyton Manning. I understand why he said it (he IS the coach of the New York Jets and he can't simply throw Sanchez under the bus), but that's such an insane quote to read. We've all watched Mark Sanchez the last three years. He's been atrocious the last two weeks. The Sanchize threw 60 passes for about 240 yards last Saturday. The Jets need to miss the playoffs because the front-office needs to re-evaluate the entire team. The defense, of course, is fine; however, the offense has been wretched for three years. Meanwhile, Sports Guy Simmons actually called the Dolphins a top 12 football team. I won't deny the Dolphins are a decent team. They simply aren't among the top 12 teams. Kids, this is a lesson against gambling; gamblers delude themselves into celebrating a forgettable Dolphins team.

Minnesota over Chicago

-Joe Webb will start this week and should prevent the Vikings from drafting Andrew Luck. Ponder progressed well this season. The Vikings aren't a team bereft at QB. I've enjoyed watching the Vikings over the last few weeks. They play an exciting style of football. Jared Allen and Percy Harvin are too talented to waste away on a lousy team. Adrian Peterson tore his ACL in addition to two ligaments. I advised the Vikings to sit him out for the rest of the season weeks ago. Amazingly, the Vikings front office doesn’t read my blog. Chicago just suffered some bad breaks this season.

New England over Buffalo

-According to what I've read, the Patriots will play their starters as they pursue the top seed in the AFC. Brady didn't practice yesterday, but reports indicated that the reason wasn't injury-related. New England clinches the top seed with a win or a Ravens and Steelers lost, which is far from earth-shattering information. Buffalo finally won last week. The defense didn't fall victim to the thrall of Tebow. Buffalo's D looks amazing whenever they play with insane energy and conviction, even though the D isn't very amazing overall. NE should have the game won by half-time.

New Orleans over Carolina

-New Orleans has won seven in a row. Brees broke Marino's record for passing yards. A win and a SF loss clinches the 2nd seed in the NFC. The time's arrived for talking-heads, analysts, bloggers, reporters, etc to praise the Saints. The media's a fickle bunch. I think the Saints are the second best team in the NFC. I read a stat on ESPN's NFC South blog today about the Saints defense--they've allowed the most YAC in the league, which is sort of significant. Of course, the Saints can put 40 points up with their eyes closed. Carolina, meanwhile, have been fun to watch solely because of Cam Newton. Ron Rivera was one hell of a coach this season.

Philadelphia over Washington

-The impossible dream ended for the Dream Team around 4:30PM on Christmas Eve. The defense looked great again (albeit against Steve McGee). Michael Vick looked healthy, spry, and focused. Vick hadn't played as well as he did against Dallas since the early part of the season. I don't have a critical word to write about the team. They're playing strong. The momentum should carry into 2012. I don't foresee Reid or Castillo being fired because 2012 is really the Big Year. I hope the team keeps Asante Samuel just because he's my favorite cornerback in the league; however, DRC and Asomugha have been shut down corners without Asante. Anyway, I just want another W to end the season. The fall in the draft won't matter because the Eagles suck at drafting now.

Indianapolis over Jacksonville

-Sports Guy Bill Simmons contemplated the viability of Orlovsky as a starting quarterback for a NFL team next season. Bill Simmons is a well-paid sports columnist, which sometimes astonishes me when he says such stupid stuff on podcasts, or writes it in his columns. The Colts are 2-13. Of course Orlovsky is competent--he's in the national football league. Some QBs just aren't destined to be a starter though, like Blaine Gabbert. Maurice Jones-Drew should win the rushing title. McCoy may or not play against Washington because of a sprained ankle.

Tennessee over Houston

-I was misinformed last week when I declared the Titans season over and called for Jake Locker to start the remaining games of the regular season. Tennessee possesses a puncher's chance in New Venezuela of stealing final wild card slot from Cincy, NYJ, and Oakland. I feel like I need a DFW footnote to detail the scenario. Basically, they need help and a win. As the kid from Angels in the Outfield said, "It could happen!" I remember how the 2008 Eagles clinched a wild card spot, after all, and that scenario was nonsense.

Atlanta over Tampa Bay

-What the hell happened to Tampa Bay? The defense allowed 38, 41, 31, and 48 in their last four losses. The team hasn't won a game since October 16 when they beat the Saints 26-20. I don't watch pre-game or post-game shows or any NFL programming during the week on ESPN or NFL Network. I read about the NFL. I've seen nary an article about the struggles of Tampa Bay nationally. I could've perused the local Tampa Bay newspapers; I just don't care THAT much about what happened to the Bucs. Josh Freeman said the team 'got uptight' after a few losses. 'Got uptight' seriously undersells the team's struggles. Ronde Barber's prepared to retire should Raheem Morris lose his job. I understand why Todd Haley a year removed from a playoff berth; the entire team quit on him. However, Tampa Bay seemingly loves Morris. Morris coached them to a 10 win season. Could it hurt TB so much to keep Morris for another season? Of course, we live in an instant gratification era, so Morris might indeed be canned.

Baltimore over Cincinnati

-Cincy sold the game out through a 2 for 1 deal or something. The Bengals won't be completely screwed if Baltimore wins. The Jets will lose, which helps them. Oakland or Denver needs to lose for the Bengals to clinch despite a loss. I don't know which team I'd rather see lose on wildcard weekend. Denver's mostly horrible to watch. Oakland is alternately horrendous and fun to watch, depending on Carson Palmer and the health of the receivers. Cincy plays the kind of football I like to watch in January. I don't care who gets the number one seed in the AFC. Baltimore can win or lose. I've abandoned the hope for a perfect week of picks this season.

Pittsburgh over Cleveland

-Cleveland's the favorite because Pittsburgh's probably going to rest their walking wounded in week 17, even though a top seed is still possible. Pittsburgh's second stringers win every week 17. A couple of years ago, the Bills needed to beat Pittsburgh's second string to clinch a playoff spot. Pittsburgh won. Drew Bledsoe was next seen in Dallas. The Bills haven't sniffed the playoffs since that loss.

Denver over Kansas City

-I'm positive that the only people who give a damn about Tebow vs. Orton are the citizens of Denver, CBS, and whichever broadcast team they send to the game. Tebow vs. Orton already happened in August. Orton cracked me up with his douchey and dickheaded comments and then he led the Broncos to a 1-4 start, Tebow took his job, and won more than he lost. Both are already winners because they're multi-millionaires. Tebow gets the last laugh because his team's alive and KC isn't.

Oakland over San Diego

-Al Davis would've definitely fired Hue Jackson for coaching the Raiders to another decent record. I doubt that the Raiders make the playoffs because this team doesn't get lucky breaks. A win over San Diego shouldn't be hard; San Diego's a miserable mess. Norv Turner invoked the second person when asked about his thoughts on his more-than-likely final game as head coach of the Chargers. The response itself is typical head-coach cliché about believing in what you know and working hard. Also, Philip Rivers is lucky to be a Pro Bowler.

Seattle over Arizona

-I'd like to write that Seattle or Arizona overachieved. I wouldn't believe myself though. I hope the teams remain competitive next season and avoid terrible starts. The NFC West needs to consistently not suck.

New York Giants over Dallas

-Oh here we are: the final game of the regular seasons. Giants and Cowboys battling for the crown in the worst division of the 2011 season. Romo's ready to go. Eli's damn sure he can complete 10 or more passes this week. Honestly, both teams aren't very good. I don't look forward to watching the game. I will though because I like football. The NFC East winner will be first round fodder, though.

Last Week: 13-3
Overall: 157-83

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Midseason Preview: Cable & Premium Shows

2012 MIDSEASON PREVIEW: CABLE & PREMIUM CHANNELS

Lord Polonius, in Shakespeare's Hamlet, says, "Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief..." and then proceeds to describe Prince Hamlet as mad, truly mad. Well, friends and well-wishers, there are many shows on cable and premium channels (returning and new) premiering in early 2012. The amount of content is actually overwhelming. The Futon Critic website let me down today. I rely on its efficient database to keep track of the many shows on the various cable and premium channels. I located the premiere dates for returning or new shows (SCRIPTED shows) through Google. I'll honor the words of Polonius more than ever today; I do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of every show listed in today's entry; however, the relevant information's included for each show listed.

Ironically enough, this is the longest post of the Midseason Preview.

ABC FAMILY

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS

Created By I. Marlene King

What Season? Second half of Season 2

Premiere Date: Monday, January 2 at 8PM

Thoughts: The four ladies want to kick some A--which is a pun. A represents the word 'ass.' A is also the nefarious character in Pretty Little Liars who's been creating a mess of drama for our pretty little liars. I read a piece in Entertainment Weekly about the series some months ago. ABC Family's successfully adapted several young adult novels. PLL has a devoted fanbase. I also remember TWoP comparing the Aria in PLL with the Arya in ASoIF (Arya would wipe the floor with all of the pretty little liars). What seems important from the ABC Family promo is that the girls are poised to take the game to A (or something).

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

THE LYING GAME

Created By Charles Stratt, Jr.

What Season? Second half of Season 1

Premiere Date: Monday, January 2 at 9PM

Thoughts: The Lying Game is another young adult adaptation. The series premiered a month before Ringer, which was unfortunate because the shows have identical premises. The promo I watched during Boy Meets World suggests the lying game will continue in the New Year. People might discover the secret of our female lead, who is portraying two different characters. The new season will include makeout sessions on a bed between Alexandra Chando and a generically handsome male actor and expressions of shock and vengeance. I forget what else I watched. Just remember: it's about pretty people and nonsense drama.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

SWITCHED AT BIRTH

Created By Lizzy Weiss

What Season? Second half of Season 1

Premiere Date: Tuesday, January 3 at 8PM

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

JANE BY DESIGN



Created By April Blair

Premiere Date: Tuesday, January 3 at 9PM

Premise: (From ABC Family Press Release, November 2011) Jane Quimby is a fresh-faced fashionista juggling life both as a regular high school student and as an assistant to a high-powered fashion executive -- all while trying to keep her true identity a secret.

Thoughts: Every main character in ABC Family is hiding his or her true identity from the people around her. Young adult writers love themes of duality. Why bother hiding your job as an assistant to a high-powered fashion executive? I'm sure Jane Quimby has a homely best friend who'll be most betrayed when he or she learns about Jane's stylish other life. Andie MacDowell (or McDowell) stars as the high-powered fashion executive. My reaction to that fact: WOW. What happened, Andie?

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

AMC

THE WALKING DEAD

Developed By Frank Darenbont

What Season? Second Half of Season 2

Premiere Date: Sunday, February 12 at 9PM

Thoughts: Fans are more interested in the possible difference between the Darabont episodes and the Mezzara episodes than in what happens next. I used 'possible' because the episodes could be exactly the same as they were during the Darabont era. Remember: significant stuff happened in the mid-season finale. Tune in if you want to watch the fallout.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

BET

THE GAME

Created By Mara Brock Akil

What Season? 5

Premiere Date: Tuesday, January 10 at 10PM

LET'S STAY TOGETHER

Created By Jacque Edmonds Cofer

What Season? 2

Premiere Date: Tuesday, January 10 at 10:30PM

COMEDY CENTRAL

SOUTH PARK

Created By Matt Stone & Trey Parker

What Season? 16

Premiere Date: Wednesday, March 14 at 10PM

Thoughts: I should've included two or three episodes in my Best Episodes of 2011 posts. But I didn't. Hopefully I remember their season sixteen episodes in December 2012.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

FX

JUSTIFIED

Created By Graham Yost

What Season? 3

Premiere Date: Tuesday, January 17 at 10PM

Thoughts: One day I'd like to watch Justified. Raylan's got a new criminal to deal with in addition to the world of dirty politics.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

ARCHER

Created By Adam Reed

What Season? 3

Premiere Date: Thursday, January 19 at 10PM

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

UNSUPERVISED

Created By David Hornsby, Rob Rosell & Scott Marder

Premiere Date: Thursday, January 19 at 10:30PM

Premise: (From FX's Press Release, September 2011) Unsupervised is a comedy about optimistic best friends "Gary" and "Joel" navigating the harsh landscape of teenage life and trying to do what's right without any parental guidance whatsoever.

Thoughts: The Always Sunny gang's fingerprints are all over Unsupervised. Kaitlin Olson will lend her voice to the cast. Kristen Bell's one of the many talented people lending their voices as well. Cricket, aka David Hornsby, is a co-creator. One hopes this animated comedy will find the success How to Be Gentlemen didn't.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

HBO

ANGRY BOYS

Created By Chris Lilley

Premiere Date: Sunday, January 1 at 10PM

Premise: (From HBO's Press Release, December 2011) Series creator and writer Lilley, who was also the creator and star of the acclaimed HBO series "Summer Heights High," uses his chameleon-like talents to play multiple roles in a mock-documentary look at the lives of average boys and men, displaying their day-to-day interactions and struggles to fulfill their obligations to family and friends.

Thoughts: The press release stated the show's purpose as an exploration of 21st century masculine identity. It may or may not be set in Australia.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

LUCK

Created By David Milch

Premiere Date: Sunday, January 29 at 9PM

Premise: (From HBO Press Release, July 2011) This new drama series is a provocative look at horse racing - the owners, gamblers, jockeys and diverse gaming industry players.

Thoughts: HBO already aired the first episode, which I didn't watch. I may or may not watch the series when it officially premieres at the end of January. David Milch is a celebrated writer and producer. Deadwood's hailed as one of the great American TV shows in history. I used to love horse racing, but my feelings changed after the Barbaro tragedy. This show would've been for me 4 or 5 years ago.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

GAME OF THRONES



Created By David Benioff & D.B. Weiss (Based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin)

What Season? 2

Premiere Date: April 2012

Thoughts: Technically, GOT Season 2 is part of the spring schedule, but I'm not going to write a spring preview. Season 2 will be different. The world of Westeros expands. New characters are introduced and more shocking twists loom. I'm quite interested in how Benioff & Weiss adapt certain parts of the book as well.

Chance of Weekly Review: 100%

SHOWTIME

SHAMELESS

Created By Paul Abbott

What Season? 2

Premiere Date: Sunday, January 8 at 9PM

Thoughts: I'm considering watching the second season despite not watching the first season. Honestly, I'd like to watch Emmy Rossum on a weekly basis. I wonder if I'll be lost and unable to connect with the narrative by passing over season one. Perhaps William H. Macy's hair will be too much to take and I'll bail at the half-hour mark. No one cares what I think, though. Some folk love Shameless.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

HOUSE OF LIES



Created By Matt Carnahan

Premiere Date: Sunday, January 8 at 10PM

Premise: (from Showtime's Press Release, December 2011) HOUSE OF LIES is the new dark comedy about all the screwed up ways big business is practiced these days.

Thoughts: Kristen Bell's presence in House of Lies completely altered my perception. Whereas I previously felt bored by the premise, I now am interested enough to watch an episode or two. It's about time Kristen Bell moved away from horrible romantic comedies and into the familiar world of television.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

CALIFORNICATION

Created By Tom Kapinos

What Season? 5

Premiere Date: Sunday, January 8 at 10:30PM

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

STARZ

SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE

Created By Steven S. DeKnight

What Season? 2

Premiere Date: Friday, January 27 at 10PM

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

SYFY

MERLIN

Created By Julian Jones

What Season? 4

Premiere Date: Friday, January 6 at 10PM

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

BEING HUMAN

Created By Jeremy Carver

What Season? 2

Premiere Date: Monday, January 16 at 9PM

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

LOST GIRL



Premiere Date: Monday, January 16 at 10PM

Premise: (From SyFy's Press Release, December 2011) Anna Silk (The Ghost Whisperer) stars as seductress Bo, a Succubus (a powerful female entity in folklore) who feeds off sexual energy. Raised by human parents, Bo had no reason to believe she was anything other than the girl next door - until she "drained" her first boyfriend to death.

Thoughts: I watched the 86 second trailer. The pretty blonde lead and an attractive brunette electrocuted a demon, and then the pretty blonde quipped, "Smells like fried bitch." She's not Buffy Summers, but LOST GIRL could be fun.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

USA

WHITE COLLAR

Created By Jeff Eastin

What Season? 3

Premiere Date: Tuesday, January 17 at 10PM

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

ROYAL PAINS

Created By Andrew Lenchewski

What Season? 3

Premiere Date: Wednesday, January 18 at 10PM

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

COMMON LAW



Created By Cormac Wibberly

Premiere Date: Thursday, January 26 at 10PM

Premise: (From USA Press Release, November 2011) The new original series COMMON LAW kicks into high gear when two cops discover they have one problem - each other. Despite their differences, they are still the best detectives on the force but when things come to a head on the eve of their "seven-year itch," their captain forces them into couples' therapy to save their "marriage."

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


2012 Midseason Preview: NBC

2012 MIDSEASON PREVIEW: NBC

I made a mistake yesterday: NBC would air Awake, not FOX. Anyway, NBC has enough new shows to temporarily fool one into thinking they're launching a fall schedule. Of course, several of their developed series were left off of the mid-season schedule. I included the TBD series' on Monday; however, I'm more inclined to ignoring NBC's TBD shows just like the network did. What's the point of teasing Bent or Betty White's Off Her Rockers if readers will never WATCH the shows? NBC needs their mid-season schedule to perform better than their fall schedule. The fall shows mostly failed (Grimm was the big winner when it scored six-plus million viewers for the premiere). Thus, The Voice premieres its second season immediately following the conclusion of the Super Bowl. The Katharine McPhee-led musical debuts the next night. Might the early part of 2012 be magical for NBC? Also, Community won't return to NBC airwaves until one of their sitcoms fails, but that's been discussed ad-nauseum already.

I might return later in the day with a preview of random midseason shows on cable and premium channels. But read on for individual previews of new and returning NBC shows;

NBC

THE FIRM



Created By Lukas Reiter

Premiere Date: Sunday, January 8 at 8PM (2 hour premiere; The Firm will air regularly on Thursdays at 10PM beginning 1/12)

Premise: (From Wikipedia) THE FIRM is a sequel to the 1991 John Grisham novel of the same name and its 1993 film adaptation. The television adaptation is set ten years after the novel and film.

Thoughts: The trailer promises that the only thing more dangerous than looking for truth is finding it. On January 8, a new chapter begins. John Grisham rose to prominence after the publication of The Firm. The book was adapted into a film in 1993, starring Tom Cruise. Evidently, love for the characters and the world haven't dissipated. The new series doesn't seem special. It'll be part-procedural/part-thriller. Mitch McDeere's finds one case that threatens everything. There are chase scenes, sniper rifles pointed at men in suits, and action scenes set in the pouring rain. I'd be surprised if The Firm's a hit. NBC's recent history in the procedural crime genre's been poor.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA?



Created By Dottie Dartland Zicklin & Julie Ann Larson

Premiere Date: Wednesday, January 11 at 8:30PM

Premise: (From Wikipedia) The series follows an outspoken woman, Chelsea Newman (a character based on the real Chelsea Handler and the show's main protagonist) and her circle of working-class twenty-something friends in New Jersey. Through the narration and observations of the fictional Chelsea, most of the situations were inspirations from Handler's book, which is based on her early career in her twenties.

Thoughts: Chelsea Handler portrays the sister of fictional Chelsea Handler. Why? What's the point? Is Chelsea unable to portray Chelsea? Anyway, the trailer's four minutes so I have a decent idea of what to expect: crappy jokes, obnoxious laugh track, stereotypes. Chelsea's neighbor is an awkward cat-lover who bought a joke book. Chelsea's boyfriend is a red-head who she loathes but consents to sleep with regardless of her feelings towards him. Handler vowed to change her life because vodka assisted in her release from prison. She spent a night in prison for driving under the influence. Chelsea likes to say that drinking's not the problem, driving is. Essentially, though, the comedy's about the redemptive journey of Chelsea Handler; how the vodka-loving cocktail waitress turned her life around to become an influential woman in popular culture. The journey probably won't be funny, but it'll be a journey.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

30 ROCK



Created By Tina Fey

What Season? 6

Premiere Date: Thursday, January 12 at 8PM

Thoughts: 30 Rock had a quietly strong season according to reliable and trustworthy critics. The 30 second preview showcases a quirky Liz Lemon. Apparently, she's keeping a secret, which her friends and co-workers are determined to uncover. Kelsey Grammer's going to guest star in the season premiere. I have a feeling that real life will meet fiction, and that Liz Lemon's pregnant, but take my opinions with a grain of salt. I haven't watched more than one episode of 30 Rock since college. I don't know the context of the present narrative of the series. I'm not interested enough to find out either.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

SMASH



Created By Theresa Rebeck

Premiere Date: Monday, February 6 at 10PM

Premise: (From Wikipedia) The show revolves around a group of characters who come together to put on a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. But before that can happen, the people who will try to bring it all together must deal with their own personal acts. The series will feature original music by composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Thoughts: Smash will draw comparisons with Glee because it's a musical television series. Don't be foolish, though. The shows are different. Smash follows the trials and tribulations of producing a Broadway musical whereas Glee tells bubblegum stories every week, except for the weeks from the writer's lecture the audience about an important issue. The conceit of Smash reminds me of Black Swan. There are two females competing for the same role (Marilyn Monroe). Unlike Black Swan, though, McPhee portrays an aspiring Broadway star, a woman with no experience, but who possesses the talent to become a star. McPhee's done well in her other roles. Smash is a huge platform for her. The preview showcased the different sides of Katharine McPhee, the actress--naive and innocent, sexual and seductive, and mind-blowing talent. Any male AND female should be transfixed when McPhee personifies Marilyn Monroe for one of the casting director's. Personally, I think Katharine McPhee is one of the most gorgeous girls on this earth, moreso when her hair color's her natural brunette. I'll watch the series just for her. Will I have many words to write about the series? Probably not; I should have enough thoughts to write about the pilot.

Chance of Weekly Review: 43%

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 Midseason Preview: CBS & FOX

2012 Midseason Preview: CBS & FOX

Jim Nantz proudly announced, during Saturday's Broncos-Bills game, that seventeen of the top twenty shows on television air on CBS with just a hint of smugness in his tone. After all, CBS is The Most Watched Network in the United States of America. Where else could Americans find generic procedurals to watch, or trite sitcoms? The press release for their midseason schedule's predictably smug and self-congratulatory because they're a stable network with consistent hits. Somehow, someway, they found a spot for the sitcom America's been asking for for two decades: the Rob Schneider show. And that's it. Any Rules of Engagement fan will need to wait until the Rob show is cancelled to watch new episodes.

Meanwhile, FOX will debut at least one interesting series. Awake's been permanently delayed because of struggles related to sustaining the concept in an episodic structure, which is a shame because Awake sounds so cool. American Idol will return in January to wash the bad taste of The X Factor out of the mouths of singing-competition fans everywhere. I Hate My Teenage Daughter ISN'T cancelled. Indeed, the series will return with new episodes in the New Year.

Read on for individual previews:

CBS

¡ROB!



Created By Lew Morton & Rob Schneider

Premiere Date: Thursday, January 12 at 8:30PM

Premise: (From CBS Press Release, November 2011) ¡ROB!, a new comedy starring Rob Schneider as a lifelong bachelor who just married into a tight-knit Mexican-American family

Thoughts: I watched the CBS produced preview for Rob Schneider's series. One of the actors told America not to be frightened by a show centered on Mexican-Americans. America won't be frightened by Mexican-Americans. No, they will be frightened that someone greenlit a series co-created by Rob Schneider--an actor who hasn't made anyone but Adam Sandler laugh in 20 years. The few clips shown in the video were terribly unfunny. Expect sight gags like Ro Schneider accidentally knocking over a candle display, then pull his pants down to mime masturbation, followed by his wife's grandmother bursting into the room and reacting in horror, and then Rob and the grandmother wind up in a doggie-style position as the rest of the family watches in shock. Rob also is OCD. The touching and affection of his wife's family is the last thing OCD Rob wants. It's not funny.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

FOX

THE FINDER



Created By Hart Hanson

Premiere Date: Thursday, January 12 at 9PM

Premise: (From FOX Press Release, December 2011) THE FINDER is a one-hour procedural centering on a remarkable man with an extraordinary ability to help people find the unfindable.

Thoughts: BONES actually aired "The Finder" pilot during its sixth season. I used quotations around the title because that's the episode title. Geoff Stults stars as the remarkable man who can find the unfindable. This remarkable man has its eccentricities. For example, he plays with toys; however, he's a man who'll find anything. I suppose the toys assist him in the process of finding the unfindable. The cast seems fun. The week-to-week stories should be fun. I'm sure there'll be dramatic elements introduced. It seems like a fun and adventurous show. Fans of BONES should like this.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE



Created By Jered Hess, Joshua Hess & Mike Scully

Premiere Date: Sunday, January 15 at 8:30PM

Premise: (From FOX Press Release, December 2011) Featuring the voices of the original cast, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE follows the continuing adventures of America's most awesomely awkward teenager and his quirky family and friends, as they navigate small-town life in rural Idaho.

Thoughts: Napoleon Dynamite returns in animated fashion to our hearts and minds. Honestly, I never longed for a continuation of the Napoleon Dynamite narrative. I enjoyed the movie. I disliked the movie in subsequent re-watches. The previews for the series promises the exact same scenes and jokes we saw in the movie. Now, though, the characters never age, so Napoleon will deal with the same problems season after season, and he'll regurgitate the same beloved quotes that got old four months after the release of the movie because people wouldn't stop quoting them. The half-hour, weekly format allows the writers to showcase the characters I never cared about in the movie even more, like the grandmom and the uncle and the brother's marriage.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

ALCATRAZ



Created By Steven Wynbrandt, Elizabeth Sarnoff & Steven Lilien

Premiere Date: Monday, January 16 at 8PM (Regular Timeslot will be Mondays at 9PM)

Premise: (From FOX Press Release, December 2011) The mysterious drama stars Sarah Jones ("Sons of Anarchy"), Jorge Garcia ("Lost") and Sam Neill ("Jurassic Park") as a unique team investigating the shocking reappearance of Alcatraz's most notorious prisoners, 50 years after they vanished.

Thoughts: YouTube has several 30 second Alcatraz promos designed to intrigue the viewer into watching. This is a JJ Abrams production, which means secrecy is very important. Of course, I have little insight into the show. I know time-travel's involved. I'm excited about the show. I trust in Sarnoff to not literally ripoff LOST like Kitsis and Horowitz are on Once Upon a Time.

Chance of Weekly Review: 88%

TOUCH



Created By Tim Kring

Special Preview: Wednesday, January 25 at 9PM

Premise: (From FOX Press Release, December 2011) The uplifting drama, which makes its series premiere Monday, March 19 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), features Sutherland as a widower and single father haunted by an inability to connect to his mute 11-year-old son. But everything changes when he discovers that his son possesses the gift of staggering genius - the ability to see things that no one else can and the patterns that connect seemingly unrelated events.

Thoughts: Tim Kring returns to television for the first time since HEROES ended. Dare I trust another Tim Kring series when the last one sucked so much? I hope Kring runs his writers’ room differently for Touch. The narrative's built on mathematics, a pattern, connections, consistency. Heroes didn't have a pattern; the connections were half-assed; consistency disappeared mid-way through season one. I'm genuinely intrigued though. FOX conveniently left the bulk of the narrative vague. For instance, what kind of path is Sutherland following? What is the purpose of the kid and Glover? Well, I'll need to watch on January 25. If I like the series, I'll need to watch once more on March 19. So, I'll give the show a shot. I might even write about it.

Chance of Weekly Review: 50%

BREAKING IN

Created By Adam F. Goldberg

What Season? 2

Premiere Date: Tuesday, March 6 at 8:30PM

Thoughts: This WAS cancelled, and then it wasn't.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 Midseason Preview: ABC & The CW

2012 MIDSEASON PREVIEW: ABC & The CW

The internet's essentially shut down this week, which makes sense because it is the holiday season. I'm not shutting down the blog this week. Instead, I'm delivering a 2012 Midseason Preview. New programming returns en masse next week. Over the next four months (beginning with January of course), the random new series will debut with decent, or barely any, fanfare. Some of the shows I'll preview today, and the following two days, don't have premiere dates. Google search is your friend in times like these. I won't include any returning fall shows in the previews because that makes no sense.

From a distance, ABC and The CW seemingly have very little in common; however, both networks share a massive disinterest in attracting a male audience. Once ABC lost Monday Night Football, they essentially threw their hands in the air and ordered every crappy nighttime soap possible. The CW's never hidden its plan to attract pre-teen and teenage girls. The midseason schedule for both networks is definitely for the ladies. ABC's premiering another show about emasculated men in an increasing female-dominated America. The only new series on The CW's midseason schedule is Remodeled, a reality series that I will ignore in this post.

I'm combining new and returning shows this week because I've little interest in dragging this preview out. Yes, there are returning shows this midseason like Cougar Town and One Tree Hill. So relax and enjoy.

ABC

WORK IT!



Created By Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen

Premiere Date: Tuesday, January 3 at 8:30PM

Premise: (From ABC Press Release, May 2011) This high-concept comedy centers on two unrepentant guy's guys who, unable to find work, dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. Not only do they pull it off, but they might just learn to be better men in the process.

Thoughts: Work It! should be atrocious from the first frame on until its inevitable cancellation a week later (or at May Upfronts). There is no way the show lasts beyond May. Does America really want to see two men dressed in drag for 13 episodes? ABC executives fell in love with the 'It's the 21st century and men are emasculated and without roles' pitch. The main characters refer to their current hardships as a 'mancession' just in case the viewer wasn't aware that these men have been emasculated by a shrinking job market and boom in influential and powerful women. The male actors don't look feminine at all in drag nor do they attempt to speak in a pepperpot tone. What's worse is the intelligent female co-workers don't notice their two new female co-workers are built like construction workers. The men join the ladies on a girls-night-out. The premise promises a lesson in how to be a better man, which I'm sure, will be communicated each week at the end of the episode. This series will suck so much. Just thinking of the possible storylines and Lessons Learned makes me cringe.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

THE RIVER



Created By Michael Green

Premiere Date: Tuesday, February 7 at 9PM

Premise: (From ABC Press Release, May 2011) "The River" follows the story of wildlife expert and TV personality Emmet Cole. Emmet set course around the world with his wife, Tess, and son, Lincoln, while filming what would become one of the most popular shows in television. After he goes missing deep in the Amazon, his family, friends and crew set out on a mysterious and deadly journey to find him.

Thoughts: I heard Michael Green, the series creator, talk briefly about the show on a Nerdist Writers Panel podcast, and his comments interested me. I also read positive early reviews of the pilot. The trailer is essentially the above premise visualized. The search-and-rescue for Emmet Cole becomes an insane task as mysterious things attack the boat. The river is home to some kind of magic, which makes sense, because the word 'magic' is repeated several times. The magic, of course, is brutal and unfriendly. ABC hasn't had any success with thrillers post-LOST, or DURING LOST. The River seems like a show that'd interest me enough to write about on a weekly basis.

Chance of Weekly Review: 82%

MISSING



Created By Greg Poirier

Premiere Date: Thursday, March 15 at 8PM

Premise: (From ABC Press Release, May 2011) Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd) learns that her son, Michael, disappears while studying abroad and it's a race against time when she travels to Europe to track him down. A surprising turn of events reveals just how far one mother will go to protect her family.

Thoughts: Missing is what happens when the plot of Taken meets an ABC nighttime soap writer. Greg Poirier changed the hero to a heroine. The missing child is male, not female. The woman's son isn't lost in Eastern Europe; he's MISSING in Italy. Becca Winstone, our protagonist, used to be in the CIA but she turned on that life to devote herself to motherhood, and now she'll confront the enemies of her past. Ashley Judd, in the preview, said that God could not help those who stood in the way of her mission to locate, and rescue, her missing son. While I love Taken, Missing doesn't appeal to me because it's a watered down, ABC-ized version of the Liam Neeson classic.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

DON'T TRUST THE BITCH IN APT. 23


Created By Nahnatchka Khan

Premiere Date: TBD

Premise: (From ABC Press Release, May 2011) After a naive Midwestern girl's big city dreams are dashed her first week in New York, she finds herself living with her worst nightmare in this hilarious, contemporary comedy about a female odd couple who are surrounded by an outrageous cast of characters.

Thoughts: I'm not optimistic for this show's longevity. The title's changed two or three times. Van Der Beek's playing himself. ABC didn't set a premiere date. It's already been relegated to a mid-season launch. Van Der Beek's playing himself. The girl from Starz' Gravity is the lead of Apt. 23, which means the show's already doomed.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

GCB


Created By Robert Harling

Premiere Date: Sunday, March 4 at 10PM

Premise: (From ABC Press Release, May 2011) Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb), once the ultimate high school "mean girl," is forced to return home in disgrace after her marriage ends in scandal. Amanda is nothing like the girl she was 20 years ago, but as her old classmates reacquaint themselves with the new Amanda, will her home town welcome her with open arms or seek revenge? No one in this town is a saint, but that doesn't mean they can't have a heart. As Amanda and her teenage kids try to adjust to their new lives, the ladies from her past alternate between sympathy and scheming.

Thoughts: Every series, no matter its quality, has one fan. There's a sizable audience for GCB, namely the target demographic of ABC. GCB follows Desperate Housewives on Sunday nights in March. Desperate Housewives is in its final season; ABC wants GCB to replace it. The series has the ingredients to succeed like DH did. Amanda's a disgraced divorcee who used to be a mean, mean girl in high school. The town possesses a long memory, so they might just seek revenge. GCB's sort of like a reverse Revenge--the leading lady is the villain and the entire town might turn against her. I have no interest in GCB.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

SCANDAL


Created By Shonda Rhimes

Premiere Date: TBD

Premise: (From ABC Press Release, May 2011) (from ABC's press release, May 2011) From the creator and executive producers of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" comes a drama revolving around the life and work of a professional crisis manager and her dysfunctional staff.

Thoughts: Scandal doesn't have a premiere date. The premise seems no different from Grey's Anatomy or Private Practice. Aren't both medical dramas about dysfunctional staffs and the drama that stems from such dysfunction? ABC told Shonda to make a new show earlier in the year, so she created a medical drama SET in a tropical paradise. The only thing that changed was the setting. Doesn't Shonda get bored telling variations of the same drama?

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

COUGAR TOWN

Created By Bill Lawrence

What Season? 3

Premiere Date: TBD

Thoughts: ABC initially left Cougar Town off its mid-season schedule, much to chagrin of fans and critics. I gave the series a chance after hearing so much praise for it. I didn't like it. The series reminded me of Scrubs. Though I liked Scrubs, the cartoony and zany style of Cougar Town annoyed me. I never watched another episode.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

THE CW

ONE TREE HILL

Created By Mark Schwann

What Season? The ninth and FINAL season

Premiere Date: Wednesday, January 11 at 8PM

Thoughts: One Tree Hill is ending so soon? Oh wait, it's been on for nine seasons. Truthfully, I don't know which actors left the show and which didn't. Is Mark Schwann still running the show? According to The CW press release, Nathan's an agent and Haley struggles raising two children alone as a result. There are too many romantic entanglements. One such entanglement involves a wedding; another involves a simple yet infuriating and tiresome question 'will these two be romantic?'

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Friday, December 23, 2011

The Best Episodes of 2011 (Part 5 of 5)

THE BEST EPISODES OF 2011 (Part 5 of 5)

I fell one episode short of 25 this year. Half-hour comedies seemingly dominated this week. I'm surprised because I like hour-long shows more. So, yes, here at the end of the week, I'm surprised by my own list. Maybe I should watch better hour-long shows. Regardless, I did not watch enough quality hour-long shows, so the comedies reign supreme. Of course, three of today's four episodes are from hour-long shows. I'd like to think that I saved the best for last; however, I never thought much about which episode went where. I more or less wrote about the episodes I liked and thought about on the day I wrote about them. For what it's worth, I consider three of the four episodes today to be the best hours of television I watched in 2011.

COMMUNITY's "Remedial Chaos Theory"--Written By Chris McKenna; Directed By Jeff Melman

Unfortunately, "Remedial Chaos Theory" isn't among the very best half-hours I watched in 2011. There were better Community episodes, but this one's still terrific. Each season of Community surprises me several times. Season 3 began with three or four 'normal' episodes, which I enjoyed but I missed the daring creativity and originality of their concept episodes. I loved how the group's dynamic was explored through alternate timelines--a device that allowed the viewers to see how a certain character affects the group with and without his or her presence. There were sweet moments, insane moments, and hilarious moments. The darkest timeline will always delight me; it reminded me of Monty Python or South Park in its gratuity of the misery created by a temple of doom miniature.

TREME's "Carnival Time"--Written By David Simon & Eric Overmyer; Directed By Brad Anderson

"Carnival Time" could be my absolute favorite television episode of the calendar year. I was captivated throughout, momentarily transported to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Simon and Overmyer didn't bother creating a plot for their second Mardi Gras episode; instead, the episode followed our characters around New Orleans as they danced, sang, played music, ate good food, and enjoyed good company. Well, "Carnival Time" DID address several story threads. For example, Davis came to Sofia's rescue in a bar of all places. Albert proudly wore his Indian dress again. Nelson had the greatest day of all-time. Annie experienced a new way to celebrate New Orleans with Harley in rural Louisiana (I think). I just really loved "Carnival Time"--it transformed me into a dedicated and devoted fan of Treme after 1.5 seasons.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES' "The Reckoning"--Written By Michael Narducci; Directed By John Behring

I think "The Reckoning" is the best episode TVD's produced. From the moment the episode begins it feels special, which is odd because the teaser begins with the Mystic Falls students preparing for Senior Prank Night. Klaus soon crashes the party and a whole mess of chaos is unleashed. Klaus compelled Stefan to kill Elena when the scoreboard hit zero. Matt killed himself so he could communicate with Vicki to learn how to stop Klaus. The various threads of the season came together in a magnificent 41 minutes. I'd be remiss if I ignored how #305 is, indeed, the fifth episode of the season. The momentum of the show didn't stop after "The Reckoning." Plot keeps moving like a 757 jet, which gives the impression season three could be an all-time great TV season. Dan Fienberg publicly praised the series on his best of TV 2011 list. Fienberg argued the show's fans don't need to refer to TVD as a guilty pleasure--just embrace how legitimately good this little CW show is, and if no one believes you, then oh well.

GAMES OF THRONES' "Baelor"--Written By David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; Directed By Alan Taylor

I'd never spoil "Baelor" for anyone who’s interested in reading the book or watching the series. I sort of undersold the ending of "Baelor" in my review. The ending's the most shocking scene of the year. I sat on my couch with my jaw wide open for sixty seconds after watching it. The internet exploded minutes after the conclusion and into the following day. The other shows that left me stunned and speechless are LOST, Buffy, ANGEL, Firefly and Dollhouse. I decided to read A Song of Ice and Fire after "Baelor," convinced of GRRM's quality as a storyteller. Indeed, the following four books vary between good, very good, great, and excellent. LOST and those other shows used to stun and shock with twists. I'll confidently write that there are twists-to-come in GOT that surpass what happened in "Baelor." Game of Thrones is a series you need to watch, friends and well-wishers.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Week 16 NFL Picks

This will be the first Christmas without my dad. There are small things that get to me during the holiday season like selecting a card. I selected cards for my family but then my eyes drifted towards the "Father" section. I stared at the card display and felt a deep sadness that's been with me for some time now; it's a feeling I can't quite describe. There are big things that get to me, too, like the thought of Christmas Eve mass. My dad loved to go; he loved to kneel by the manger scene, pray, and then collect hay for good luck in the coming year. He always possessed a deep reverence and love for the holiness of the season. On Christmas day, I could count on him to watch Bing Crosby's White Christmas, and sing along with the iconic song. I have 24 years of wonderful memories with my father, which I can share with my family, and anyone else who wants to hear about a man I had so much love and respect for; someone I not only proudly refer to as my father but, also, he was one of my best friends and, along with my mom, the most important person in my life. There's not a day that passes when I don't miss him; that I don't think about him. I just feel the loss, his absence, more acutely right now.

THE WEEK 16 PICKS

I should mention that the majority of the games are played Saturday, in case anyone is unaware that just one game is on Sunday.

Houston over Indianapolis

-One loss to the Carolina Panthers damaged the abundant TJ Yates love in the media. If one can't beat the Carolina defense, then who can one beat? This happened a week after he and the Texans rallied against a staunch Cincy D. I resisted the urge to hop on the Colts bandwagon. I still remember their inability to stop the run or successfully throw the football for fourth quarters. I'm glad the team won last week. 0-16 is fun in theory but it mostly sucks to write about or acknowledge when it's happened.

Buffalo over Denver

-Friends and well-wishers will wonder if I'm drunk on egg nog for picking the Bills again. The answer is no because I don't drink egg nog. In fact, I'm not entirely sure one can get drunk on nog, but I'm inclined to think one can. The Bills were zombies for 3 quarters on Sunday. The light snow affected the cold-climate Bills more than the sunshine Dolphins. Reggie Bush rushed for 200+ yards! The fun and energetic Bills offense resurfaced in time for the Bills faithful to consider the possibility their team would complete the comeback and end their miserable losing streak. Harvard threw for over 300 yards along with two INTs. C.J. Spiller looked good. Fred Jackson probably will compete with Spiller for the starting job, or they'll split carries like Stewart and Williams do in Carolina. I don't have a good reason for thinking the Broncos can't beat the Bills. Denver's better defensively and, now, more dangerous on offense. The Bills losing streak needs to end eventually.

Cincinnati over Arizona

-John Skelton won another football game. I missed the entire Arizona game and never watched highlights or a game story. Meanwhile, Dan Dierdorf was a couple drinks away from hitting on AJ Green. Dierdorf was crazy about the young kid's skills, going so far as to call an incompletion out of bounds 'the greatest incompletion' ever because Green caught it with one hand and maintained his balance with little effort. The game has huge playoff implications. Well, the word 'huge' might be a little much. Arizona needs to win out. Cincy's best bet is just winning the final two. I'm looking forward to this game.

Tennessee over Jacksonville

-Tennessee's been eliminated from playoff contention, which makes this game completely meaningless. I hope Jake Locker starts. Hasselbeck was terrible on Sunday. Locker makes every receiver better. Nate Washington's been awesome this season--a dare-I-say respectable replacement for Kenny Britt (I should add that Washington's awesome whenever Locker's in the game). Just start Locker, Munchak. Jones-Drew is the NFL's leading rusher. He's been barely discussed this season despite his splendid year. I'd like to see Shady win the rushing title, but it'd be cool to see MoJo rush for 175 yards and 3TDs. He'll have to for the Jags to win. Gabbert's not the answer in Jax.

Oakland over Kansas City

-Should the Raiders finish 8-8 or 7-9, no one will remember they were 7-4 once. Oakland's dealing with injured WRs and RBs. KC's not a poster team of health either. Once again, I don't have a good reason for picking against KC. I don't want to overrate the win. Kyle Orton remains the QB, after all, but his competency must've had a huge impact on the receivers who were used to the befuddled ways of Tyler Palko.

New England over Miami

-I watched The Hobbit trailer yesterday, and HOLY SHIT IT WAS AWESOME. I forgot how awesome a place Peter Jackson's Middle Earth is. I forget how terrific a filmmaker PJ is. I felt goosebumps watching it. I'm excited for the three Joss Whedon movies in 2012, but The Hobbit just vaulted to the top of the 'most anticipated' list. Anyway, the Dolphins won their game for former coach Tony Sprano. That's nice. Bill Simmons argued that the current Pats are better offensively than the 16-0 team. I have no comment. Read Bill Barnwell if interested in the comparisons. I know this Patriots offense is awesome--the AFC's answer to the Saints. That'd be a swell Super Bowl actually.

New York Jets over New York Giants

-Andy Reid's a huge Jets fan this week. Indeed, the Jets need to beat the Giants if the Eagles want their 4PM game in Dallas to be meaningful. The New York teams looked horrific on Sunday, like both wanted relegation to the UFL (which doesn't exist). NYG's players have a habit of telling the media that they are better than the team they just lost to. Antrel Rolle, I think, told the press that 9 times out of 10 the Giants would beat the Redskins. The same words were said after Vince Young and the Birds beat the Giants on SNF. I really have no idea which team will suck less on Saturday.

Pittsburgh over St. Louis

-The Rams are a Christmas gift to their opponents. Pittsburgh played poorly on Monday night. I wonder if the late game on Monday combined with their cross country flight, and a short week, will lead to a Christmas miracle win for the Rams. Tomlin should rest Big Ben; however, the Steelers suck when it comes to player health.

Minnesota over Washington

-I've reached the point of the NFL season when I run out of things to write about certain games and certain teams. Besides Minnesota and Washington's fanbases, who cares about this game? The broadcasters paid to call the game probably don't care about this game. At least the Vikings offense is fun to watch now. I like how Leslie Frazier integrated Joe Webb into the game plan without sacrificing Ponder's development.

Carolina over Tampa Bay

-Tampa Bay didn't quit on Saturday night. I thought Dallas had a good chance of losing their huge lead. TB still looked awful for most of the game. Carolina's very mediocre but Cam Newton's talent makes one forgetful of that. I like Carolina more in this game now that Rivera's remembered Williams and Stewart can run for touchdowns.

Baltimore over Cleveland

-The last time these two teams met Ray Rice had over 200 total yards. I don't know what happened against the Chargers. I missed the 3/4 of the game. People blamed Joe Flacco's moustache, which made me laugh. Not even a moustache could stop the Ravens from beating the hapless Cleveland Browns. The Browns' inability to detect a concussion in Colt McCoy prompted the league to mandate a person on the medical staff be seated in a booth during games so mistakes don't happen again.

San Diego over Detroit

-The Chargers can make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. The Lions ALSO can make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. Detroit's chances are better because if they win they are in. I have no idea what the scenarios are in the AFC West. SD would be wise to win their two remaining games. Again, I don't know what happened in the SD-Bal game. I checked the score, saw a 31-7 Chargers lead, raised my eyebrows in surprise, and wondered if Rivers matched Brees' stats. Well, Rivers didn't. Matthews and Tolbert scored 3 of the 4 touchdowns. I should mention the exciting TD scored by the Lions in Oakland: Detroit won on an exciting last gasp attempt in Oakland. There.

Philadelphia over Dallas

-The 6-8 Eagles are ALIVE (pending the NYJ-NYG outcome at 1PM of course). Jerry Jones fears the suddenly inspired Eagles. Andy Reid's lit up defenses orchestrated by the Ryan bros. this calendar year. The Cowboys might start Sammy Morris because of Felix Jones' injured hamstring. The Juan Castillo defense Gets It now. Players believe in Castillo's scheme. The Birds are 2-0 in their New Season. Of course, the game could be completely meaningless for the Birds by kick-off. Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano talked about how they'd help their wives wrap gifts if the Birds' season was toast by kick-off. If the Jets win, though, the wives should stay away for 3.5 hours. Gift-wrapping and football watching can happen at the same time. In case of one doesn't remember, football games have A LOT of downtime. I'm prepared for the day CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN cut to commercial break after each down; I'm prepared for the day 2nd and 14 from the Dallas 34 is sponsored by IKEA. So, in essence, this game could be amazingly meaningful or the complete opposite of that.

San Francisco over Seattle

-I haven't read any reaction to Monday night's win for San Francisco. I thought the team looked as they usually do: strong defense and a so-so offense. I remembered the other day about Trent Dilfer's Super Bowl win on the strength of an all-time great Ravens defense. I see something similar happening with the 49ers. Their defense is great. The defensive coordinator should be a head coach next season. As for Seattle, this is a must-win. The offense should have trouble against the Niners D. Marshawn Lynch is in full time Beast-and-skittles mode, though. The NFC West has been a quietly entertaining division this season.

Green Bay over Chicago

-The Packers' pursuit of perfection ended. The Bears' post-season chances are fading. Johnny Knox is out for the season. Forte won't return until he's 100%. Cutler's probably done. Hanie's on the bench now. McCown will start. Green Bay needs to secure home-field advantage. The Christmas night game should be a good one nonetheless. Perhaps I'm deluding myself with that sentence. I watched Manchester United destroy Fulham yesterday. While Fulham's aggressive second half was fun for awhile, their lack of adept finishing took the fun out of the game. I just assume Green Bay will roll and Chicago will have some garbage time fun.

New Orleans over Atlanta

-I'm having deja-vu. Oh, that's right, these two teams played on MNF in Week 16 last season. Did I write anything interesting about that game? Let me look: nope. I even admitted that "I'm not adding anything revelatory to this game." Atlanta's a much less interesting team this season. The Saints are a close second behind the Packers in the NFC (in regards to talent and quality of play). Once again, I'm not writing a worthwhile word about the game. Instead, I'll wish everyone a Happy Holiday and a Merry Christmas.

Last Week: 10-6
Overall: 144-80

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


The Best Episodes of 2011 (Part 4 of 5)

THE BEST EPISODES OF 2011 (Part 4 of 5)

COMMUNITY's "Paradigms of Human Memory"--Written By Chris McKenna; Directed By Tristram Shapeero

Community's the most creative series on network television. "Paradigms of Human Memory" is another example of such creativity. Years ago, clip shows were staples of sitcoms, and then they weren't. The show tackled the bottle episode in an earlier season two episode. The clip show's a bunch of clips, yes, but the material's entirely new and takes us to places we've never been with the study group. The episode's sort of a response to the question viewers always have about their favorite shows: "what do these characters do when we're not watching them?" For the study group, they go to ghost towns and mental institutions. They replace the suddenly deceased glee club and win the competition. And, in the funniest bit of the episode, Jeff gives an inspiring speech wherever he goes; the speech in this episode is a collection of the many speeches he's given which creates one whole and coherent speech. Lovely episode, which is highlighted by Jeff's theory that anything can be romantic when put to music in a montage, and Pierce and Abed are the experiment with that.

LOUIE's "Come On, God"--Written & Directed By Louie C.K.

Ideally, two people with opposing ideologies and beliefs would engage in a discussion and debate about an issue as peacefully as Louie and the Christian abstinence woman do. The issue is masturbation. Louie couldn't be more supportive of an act whereas the Christian woman, a beautiful 20something year old, believes all kinds of sex should be saved for sacredness of marriage between two loving individuals. Louie doesn't persuade the woman to embrace masturbation nor does the woman persuade Louie to quit masturbating (in fact, Louie masturbates at the end of the episode). Louie C.K. wrote a character, in the Christian woman, who 100% believes in her values and beliefs. It's sort of intoxicating to watch her explain her feelings on sex--her passion is attractive, which is what Louie communicates through her dialogue and his direction.

COMMUNITY's "Critical Film Studies"--Written By Sona Panos; Directed By Richard Ayoade

People expected a Pulp Fiction homage. Dan Harmon and his writers delivered a My Dinner With Andre. I think Dan Harmon understands Abed more than his other characters. Abed's the central character of any episode that delves deep into what it means to be human. Abed's an extremely meta, but he's also the only sane member of the group. Abed's all about his connection with Jeff Winger during the dinner scene. In fact, he's making a documentary. Jeff's realization of what's actually happening hurts him because he feels manipulated and used. As always, though, Jeff and Abed understand one another.

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM's "Mister Softee"--Story By Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer

"Mister Softee" is the Bill Buckner episode everyone anticipated, and it delivers the laughs. I liked how Buckner and Mookie Wilson were signing autographs in the same hall. I liked Buckner's 'aw shucks' act whenever people fled from his presence because of bad luck. My favorite scene's when Larry throws the signed Mookie Wilson baseball at Buckner and Buckner completely misses it. What an episode.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES' "The House Guest"--Written By Caroline Dries; Directed By Michael Katleman

This is an insane episode. Characters are set on fire. Isobel's back in town to cause chaos. The episode ruminates on love and its power. The power to love is stronger than any kind of magic.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot. I write regular posts about Grimm & The Vampire Diaries.