Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Foot: Beyond Survival with Les Stroud Review/Recap

Beyond Survival with Les Stroud opens with the camera in night vision mode. Les walks through the jungle, talking quietly because the Vedda people instructed him to keep silent. The Elephants are near. The elephants are the biggest concern and danger for the Veddas in central Sri Lanka; however, Les tells the audience that they must be aware of leopards, jaguars and sloth bears in the jungle. The entire trek ends without incident. Yes, the exciting illusion of danger returns to a Les Stroud show.

Beyond Survival is a show about surviving in the jungle in more ways than one. The show focuses on the preservation of the dying cultures of the tribes Les Stroud visits. What happens when modern civilization encroaches on a culture like the Veddas in Sri Lanka? The Vedda people and culture walked the earth 10,000 years before civilization began in Ancient Egypt. The effect of modern civilization is harsh for the Veddas because they've lost land through the years. Modern Sri Lanka advertises Aboriginal adventures even though the Veddas want to continue living as they always have. History has told this story for centuries. The natives are usually pushed out of their lands by a conqueror (Amazingly, the bulk of my studies as an English major included post-colonial studies or multi-culturalism and diversity as a whole...I digress). As they lose their lands, hunting and gathering becomes tougher as the wild game diminishes with each loss of land. The Veddas are one of the oldest hunter-gatherer groups in the world. Not only are the Vedda trying to maintain their way of life despite outside forces but they must rely on the youth of their people and their youth is not following in their elders' footsteps.

Les Stroud also visits the Sinhalese fishermen on the coast on Sri Lanka. The fishermen are modern. The survival of their way life was damaged and put in danger after the Tsunami in 2004. Many of the elder fishermen died and the young Sinhalese aren't anxious to follow in the footsteps of those who came before. The fishermen used to catch over 300,000 tons of fish a year and the numbers have decreased dramatically.

Besides the focus on the question: can these cultures continue to live the way they've always lived? A decent portion of the episode is devoted to the idea of demons and devils.

The Veddas were once considered to be half-human half-demon and they worship a select group of demons that can help them succeed while the Sinhalese believe there are no good demons. They want to rid themselves of demons because they believe the demons cause disease and bad luck among others. The way to please or ward off demons is through dancing--"devil dancing."

The Sinhalese are a very patriarchal society. They believe the demons are attracted to various vices. Chief among the vices are women. I think the Sinhalese associate women with lust, and lust is the chief vice. Les Stroud wasn't clear. The Sinhalese dress up in women clothing to entice the demons so they can be destroyed i.e. exorcised. While fishing, the Sinhalese prefer company because an isolated fisherman is an easy target for demon possession. Their devil dancing is intense and long--twelve hours exactly. The Sinhalese wished to exorcise the demons from Stroud which is why the dance takes twelve hours. It's a dizzying display of noise, color, fire.

The Veddas dance as a form of worship to the demons they deem good. There are no costumes or excessive displays.

As for the actual hunting methods the Veddas use, allow me to write about some highlights:

-The middle portion of the episode is devoted to an elaborate concoction to create poison so fishing is easier. At first, they warned Les not to get the poisonous liquid in his eye and then they asked him to get in the water that now had the poison in it. Les said his body went numb eventually.

-A few times on Survivorman, Les Stroud got high from a natural opiate. In this episode, he ate a betel nut with some tobacco leaves. Whenever Les Stroud trips out with a camera watching, it's funny because he seems like he has no clue what just hit him.

-The Vedda slingshots delighted Les. While high from the betel nut, he acted like he'd hit one of the Vedda tribesman with the rock before laughing.

-The Vedda tribesmen own dogs that they use to help on the hunt. In fact, when they arrived home, the dogs greeted the tribesmen excitedly.

-The tribesmen and Les procured honey from a bees nest without the bees going insane. The Veddas take great care when invading the bees' hive. After they gathered the honey, the tribesmen made sure the bees would re-build by re-building the part of the tree they removed for hive access.

Beyond Survival with Les Stroud is worth your time. DVR it or watch it live should you be home on a Friday night at 10pm. Where else can someone get a glimpse of another culture like this? Les Stroud continues to be a great host; however, no matter how many times he talks about the dangerous animals, you'll never actually see one.

Tomorrow will launch the beginning of the look at returning television shows on network television. If you any network you'd like me to begin with, tell me in the comments. If not, expect an ABC preview tomorrow.


Monday, August 30, 2010

The Foot: Thoughts on The 2010 Emmys

The 62nd Annual Primetime Emmys took place last night in Hollywood. Rich people were paid to wear expensive clothing. Rich people were paid handsomely for work they already are paid handsomely for. Also, expensive gift bags were given to the rich people who attended. I digress.

In other years, the Emmys showcased an alarming lack of originality. Before last night, The Amazing Race won every year since it debuted. Top Chef took home the Best Reality Program award last night, ending The Amazing Race's streak. New shows were rewarded as well as deserving actors and actresses who were deemed an after-thought by critics who had grown weary of the predictability of the Emmys; however, as the night wore on, the Emmys began irritating me. Perhaps the hour plus time spent celebrating mini-series and movies was the reason. Can there really be a category for Best Miniseries when exactly two miniseries are nominated? Obviously, the category existed. I would have bumped Tom Hanks and his mini-series to the Creative Arts show that occurred a week ago.

Here are my (mostly) complete thoughts about last night's Emmy Awards:

-Jimmy Fallon hosted the show last night. While I had no problems with how he performed as the host, I wondered how much power Lorne Michaels has in television. For example, if I was a writer's PA or writer's assistant on SNL and I happened to trip over his shoe accidentally, would I ever work in the business again? Take a gander at Horatio Sanz's career compared to Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. Lorne Michaels doesn't like Horatio Sanz. Sanz was abruptly fired from SNL. Since SNL, he's worked small roles in Will Ferrell movies and landed a role on a Comedy Central series that critics hate; meanwhile, Fallon replaces Conan O'Brien as the host of the Late Show after struggling as a movie actor. I read Lorne made it a mission to find success for Jimmy Fallon. A year and a half after taking over Conan's chair, Fallon is hosting the Emmy Awards on NBC.

Seth Meyers has been the head writer of Saturday Night Live for a few years now as well as the Weekend Update host. Let us remember that Seth Meyers never made the audience laugh in sketches. If there were laughs, credit goes to Will Ferrell or any other cast member who appeared in the sketch with him. Not only is Meyers the king of the SNL writing staff, he hosted the ESPYs in July. Damon Lindelof, co-creator of LOST, tweeted "Briefly met @sethmeyers21 backstage and got starstruck." In the infamous words of Meyers, REALLY?!? Seth Meyers has overseen some of the worst SNL years in the show's history. The ideas are unoriginal and the execution of the ideas is brutal. Like Fallon, the majority of laughs during Weekend Update occur when Seth Meyers can't help but laugh at the jokes he just delivered.

I don't get it.

-I almost turned heel on Mad Men last night because of my overwhelming LOST fanaticism but the frustration disappeared rather quickly and I watched the latest episode of Mad Men mere minutes after they won the award for Outstanding Drama Series. They won for the third year in a row. Matthew Weiner didn't thank his writing staff. Instead, he thanked his wife for reading the scripts. I have no problem with Mad Men winning this award because LOST didn't have a shot in Emmy Land. It's a genre show and hadn't been nominated since the show won in 2005 for the first season.

-I don't think Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy should've won for "Shut The Door. Have A Seat." Again, I'm biased but I think Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse deserved the win for "The End." But Mad Men is the Emmy's favorite child. The one award I wanted LOST to win was the writing award. I will now sigh heavily.

-Jack Bender did not win the directing award for LOST. Steve Schills won for an episode of Dexter he directed. I did want Bender to win the award not only for the greatness that is "The End" but for the entire six years he spent as the creator of the visual look and style of the show.

-I enjoyed the opening segment of The Emmys. I was surprised and overjoyed when Nina Dobrev jumped into frame. She is the star of The Vampire Diaries and an absolutely stunning looking girl. Holy moly.

Will she replace Emilie de Ravin as my fanboy crush? After watching her last night on The Emmys and seeing the TVD trailers for the second season with Dobrev in the Katherine look...I will answer with an emphatic yes.

-Aaron Paul won the supporting actor award for drama series. Paul once acted in a 2000 movie called Whatever It Takes and it's one of my all-time favorite comedic performances. The majority of people in America won't agree with me. I've read no supporting actor was more deserving than Aaron Paul. Very well.

-Archie Panjabi won the award for supporting actress in drama series. I hear she was outstanding. Good for her.

-Kyra Sedgwick won for Best Actress in a drama series. Many thought Julianna Marquiles was a lock. I wanted Connie Britton to win for her portrayal of Mrs. Taylor on Friday Night Lights.

-Bryan Cranston won the award for best actor in a drama series. This was a stacked category. Every actor deserved to win. I thought Matthew Fox had an outstanding season portraying Jack. Jon Hamm's performance in "The Gypsy and The Lady," especially the kitchen scene with Betty, is out of this world. Kyle Chandler's been great for four years as Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights as well.

-The only comedy series nominated that I watched was Curb Your Enthusiasm. The show earned zero awards. No surprise. J.B. Smoove wasn't even nominated and I have no doubt that he's funnier than every actor nominated for supporting actor in a comedy series.

-The show itself was poorly paced. Again, no one needs an hour plus devoted to mini-series' and movies. The musical transitions performed by Jimmy Fallon were decent but the twitter stuff was a bad idea.

Overall, I regret watching the entire three hour program. I should've stopped when Nina Dobrev left the stage but I had hope LOST would win, at least, one award.

I thought I'd write about the Emmys and Beyond Survival in one post but my write-up on Beyond Survival will be online tomorrow.


Gio Gonzalez, A's pitcher, on his relationship with the baseball
"I had a pep talk with the baseball today ... It's the first time. I guess he's rubbing off too much on me," Gonzalez said. "After Hamilton's homer, I got the ball and started yelling at it. 'C'mon, do your job.' Then the baseball told me to calm down. I'm losing my mind."


Friday, August 27, 2010

The Foot: Beyond Survival with Les Stroud

The first issue of The Quad is released on Monday. I would have a preview but I graduated 8 months ago and, thus, do not have a preview for what's coming in Monday's issue. I look forward to discovering the identity of the person succeeding me as the beat writer for the men's soccer team. I look forward to the entertainment section remaining the best section in the paper. Last year, for the first issue of the fall semester and my second issue as overlord of the entertainment section, I did a round-up of summer news and a last-minute piece on Noel Gallagher suddenly quitting Oasis. I digress. Everyone can read the latest Quad issue at wcuquad.com.

Last week, I indulged in a week-long search for new television shows to review for the Fall. After the extensive search, I settled on only four shows. The problem is each show is new and the premiere dates won't allow me to write about television at the pace that I want. For example, The Walking Dead won't air until October 31. For nearly two months I will only write about three shows? No way.

For the sake of credibility, I won't write about shows that I'm unfamiliar with. In other words, the plan is to write about shows I actually watch. It's a novel concept. Of course, the TV schedule isn't favorable in the early weeks. Only The CW returns before the rest of the network landscape on September 20. Most of the shows I'd write about (Community, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The Vampire Diaries) air on Thursdays which would create an insane amount of posts in a short span. Plus, my 5th season of NFL predictions is moving into The Foot. Returning shows might find their space within the actual picks. Basically, the TV reviews will become frequent once the full fall schedule is in full swing and I just need to show patience before I can write at the pace I want. Moving on...

A new show is entering the review rotation. Which show? Well, read on:

The Show: Beyond Survival with Les Stround

The Channel: Discovery

Premiere Date: Tonight at 10PM

Premise: (From Discovery Channel Press Release) As "Survivorman," Les Stroud spent years surviving some of the most remote locations on earth -- alone -- while filming himself. In BEYONDSURVIVAL WITH LES STROUD, premiering Friday, August 27 at 10PM ET/PT, Stroud learns the tribes' techniques, takes part in their rituals and ceremonies and discovers the secrets of how their culture has survived for thousands of years... before they vanish forever. Les has relied on his years of training, raw instincts and sheer will to endure his seven-day challenges. Now, he takes his knowledge deeper; seek out the true masters ofsurvival -- the last indigenous tribes in the most remote corners of the planet.

Thoughts: I was a huge fan of Survivorman during its run. I understood why Les walked away from the show because he never looked happy by the end of an episode. He spent days with either little food or little water or both. His show wasn't as intense as Man Vs. Wild. Stroud always offered the more practical way to survive. If I was lost in the wild, I think I could survive with what Les Stroud taught. I would probably die if I followed Bear Grylls because he always adopts the most extreme method of survival but it's awesome to watch in the comfort of one's home.

The premise of the show reminds of the movie about the linguists. Linguists would travel to remote corners of earth to capture the dialect of the remaining indigenous cultures. The idea of traveling to the last indigenous tribes on earth to learn about not only their survival skills but their culture is fascinating. I'm eager to learn about these different tribes and their cultures. The description of the tribe Les visits in the first episode is so cool. I expect a healthier, less worn down Les Stroud by episode's end.

I'll have much more to write about when I see the episode tonight. The review/recap/thoughts/whatever-you-want-to-call-it will be posted Monday.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Foot: The Episode Bear Grylls Almost Dies

Last night on Man Vs. Wild, Bear Grylls was inches from death. Literally. Had his cameraman and director of photography, Simon Peay, collided with Bear's head, Bear would have died.

Thus far, the new season of Man Vs. Wild has been insane. He's flirted with death in every episode. If he isn't swimming with sharks, he is fighting a crocodile for a fish in North Queensland waters and, if he isn't fighting a croc then he nearly dies in a situation that he and his crew are supposed to have complete control over. As I talk about this episode, the reader will learn the exact situation that put Bear and his cameraman inches from death. The situation might surprise you.

This episode got me thinking. Bear's been filming Man Vs. Wild for three years now. I think the man is addicted to this lifestyle now. Perhaps he isn't but this episode featured survival methods Bear has done multiple times in the past already. Any loyal fan knows this.

This week, Bear was in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. Instead of the usual, Bear and the crew created different survival scenarios such as a blizzard, an avalanche, icy waters and a glissade down a mountain. Bear wanted to demonstrate how to survive the most catastrophic situations in the bitter cold. He sure earns his paycheck with this episode, folks. Here are the usual highlights:

-The first scenario was an avalanche. In Patagonia, Bear witnessed an avalanche but did not get caught or buried in one. In this scenario, Bear will bury himself beneath 12 feet of snow to simulate an actual survival situation. Most people die buried 2 feet under. The crew set off four explosives to create the avalanche because Bear wanted to time how long it'd take for rescuers to rescue someone trapped. The information he attained from this exercise was used for his own situation. Bear decides he'll bury himself alive for 12 minutes under the snow. The proper medical equipment is hooked up to him so he can be monitored; meanwhile, he has a device to make his breathing fit into the scenario as well so that oxygen slowly disappears as time passes. Right off the bat, Bear is flirting with death because if the diggers can't get to him quickly when the time comes, Bear could die.

While buried, Bear tells a story about a close of friend of his who died in an avalanche. Bear adds softly that he doesn't like avalanches. As he sits, the oxygen leaves the air. He has a tough time breathing. Eventually, he's suffering. But the time elapses and the diggers get him safely. He compares the oxygen returning to his lungs to a light that goes on in a dark house. It sounds like a description being near death through suffocation because, as Bear tells us, suffocation is what kills someone trapped underneath an avalanche.

-The next scenario is a massive blizzard. Bear experienced this while in Iceland. For this, the crew had two huge fans along with small weather stations to make sure the conditions were blizzard-like. Bear advises against fighting the blizzard because the wind will kill you. One must take shelter. The shelter is the snow itself. What one does is dig a deep hole so that it shields you from the wind. I've seen Bear implement this method several times in the series. Nothing new with this scenario of surviving a blizzard unless you're a first-time viewer, in which case you learned something.

-The icy lake was next. Bear never seemed to enjoy himself when he plunged into icy waters in the Arctic Circle or Siberia or anywhere. The plunge and the swim has to be torture. Naturally, Bear is wearing a heart monitor to track his BPM. Simon has a thermal camera to show how cold Bear's body gets. Bear has to swim 80 feet in the water. Before diving in, he says the icy waters are different when he's in 'journey mode' because he doesn't stop to think; however, diving in like one dives into a swimming pool is a different beast. He dives in and then surfaces quickly because the trick is to slow one's heartbeat down because the cold water sends the body into panic mode. Every time Bear went into icy waters, he always made sure he calmed his heart rate down because cardiac arrest is a risk. His BPM drops to 88. He spends nearly five minutes in the water. In his narration he describes the body's way of surviving by decreasing blood flow. On the surface, his body temperature fell from 88 degrees to 32 degrees.

When Bear leaves the water, his number goal priority is preventing frostbite. Bear rolls in the snow as a way to dry his body (hey it works and he's done it before) before putting his clothes on. He must start a fire or else he might die from blood flow. Bear gets a fire going quickly and then makes himself tea. As he sips his tea, he RETIRES from diving into icy waters. It's about time, Bear. He admits he always hated icy waters.

I wondered: can a regular person survive what Bear just survived? He must be in superior shape. He's climbed Everest twice after all. CHIME IN with your opinion in the comments.

-After three insane challenges, Bear settles down to show the viewer how to make good shelter in a bitterly cold place. The show flashbacks to Siberia when Bear spent a night in minus 30 degree temperatures. Now, personally, I'd like to live in a shack in Siberia. I digress. Bear builds a great shelter and a great fire. In the morning, we find out his shelter was 66 degrees (thanks to the fire and the way he built the shelter) while the British Columbian night had temperatures in the low-20s.

-The final challenge is the icy glissade. In the Yukon, Bear lost his footing and slid down the mountain. Bear wanted to determine the speed of someone doing this as well as the length it takes to stop the slide. Bear tells a story about his wife and son who nearly fell off a cliff but stopped just shy of the edge. I'm not surprised The Grylls family climbs cliffs in Bear's downtime.

From when Bear began to dig his hands into the snow to stop the slide until he stopped, the distance was 180 feet. Bear stresses the importance of being aware of your environment so no one falls off the edge of a cliff. The second time, Bear uses an ice axe to stop; meanwhile, Simon follows Bear on a sled from behind. Once Bear stops, a white cloud of snow hides Bear from Simon's sight. Simon collides with Bear. The camera breaks and the crew thinks one or both of them could be dead. Good God. Luckily, Simon did not nail Bear in the head. The crew thinks Bear's femur might be broken. Simon's nose is busted. Bear is teary-eyed. Simon talks about the fear he felt. The two are airlifted to a hospital.

An insane ending in yet another insane episode of Man Vs. Wild this season. I hope I never see a glisside again on the show nor a dive into icy waters. I will welcome the return of swimming with sharks or fighting a croc for fish OR staring down 200 elephants and WINNING.

Next week, Bear is in The Caucasus Mountains. In which country? Who knows. Hopefully it is матери России.


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Foot: Review of The Final Season of LOST on DVD

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On Friday, and last month, I wrote about the return of Jacob's Foot. I planned to have my LOST blogging career end after even more days and words were spent on the show; however, after careful thought, I decided that Jacob's Foot returns for one day only: today.

In "What They Died For," Jacob tells Hurley to gather his friends because the end is near. Jacob put his remaining ashes in a fire. Once the ashes burned away, Jacob would be gone. When I teased a name change, the name change would've been "Jacob's Ashes" because once the final post had been published, Jacob's Foot is no more. Since the LOST blog moved to Quad Blogs in 2009, the name always included Jacob. First, it was Jacob's Cabin because I loved the idea of the cabin in the show. After "The Incident," and the revelation that MIB inhabited the cabin for a long period of time, the blog became Jacob's Foot because Jacob actually lived beneath the foot of Tawaret. Plus, I thought the name Jacob's Foot would get recognition on the internet among LOST fans. I can say Jeff Jensen, EW's LOST expert, made a joke about the name on Twitter after responding to a question. I digress. I always loved the idea of Jacob when The Others only talked about him and I stated writing about LOST well before Jacob showed up. Also, no one else used Jacob in the name of their blog.

The final Jacob's Foot features a DVD review for the final season. Yes, you read correctly. This is a DVD review for sixth and final season of LOST. The DVD is released to the masses tomorrow in various retail stores. How did The Foot manage to get an early copy? Pre-ordering pays off, friends and well-wishers. This review will cover audio commentaries, bonus features and a review of the final original content from LOST: The New Man In Charge. In fact, let us begin with The New Man In Charge.

Also, MASSIVE SPOILERS about "The New Man In Charge" so don't read until you see it. The write-up about it is like every recap/review I did for the episodes. I write about LOST as if everyone has seen what I'm writing about. Feel free to scroll through. Once again, MASSIVE SPOILERS ABOUND IN "THE MAN IN CHARGE" REVIEW.


"The New Man In Charge" has a run time of 11 minutes and 51 seconds. I found myself checking to see how much time remained every few minutes because I didn't want it to end. The same joy and excitement I felt before every new episode of LOST for six years returned once I pressed play. For 11 minutes and 51 seconds, my mind was wholly consumed by a story LOST was telling.

"The New Man In Charge" is light-hearted. Ben has been shutting down the old Dharma stations in the United States. The final station was responsible for the food drops. Back in the day, after the first food drop happened during the second season, many people wondered who exactly dropped the food onto the Island. As the seasons past, the need for an answer to this particular mystery ceased. Perhaps, during season five, Damon and Carlton said something about the food drops and time-travel being related. Such an answer was good enough for me. Plus, I thought it was cool that these food drops could get lost in time and then show up in a period they weren't supposed to. I digress.

The first half of the short is devoted to answering some questions the show raised during its run. There are two Dharma workers who've been in charge of these food drops for years and years. The one thing they want from Ben, after the nice severance package, is answers. It doesn't take a literary critic to draw the parallel between the audience and the workers. A large contingent of fans exists who wanted answers badly and were super-pissed when The End didn't deliver answers to questions. I, of course, am not part of that contingent. I digress. Ben is nice enough to answer one question each from both works before he puts in a DVD of the Hydra Orientation Video.

The Hydra Orientation video is the funniest of the many orientation videos. We find out why Chang uses so many alias in other videos as well as the the truth behind the polar bears on the Island. Additionally, we find out more about Room 23 and the weird animal experiments Dharma liked to do. The pregnant women question gets an answer. The Hurley bird mystery gets an answer and it's ridiculous. I thought it was great. Everything is straight-forward. When the video ends, the one worker echoes a line of John Locke's when he says they need to see it again. Unfortunately, time's up and Ben has one final place to visit: Santa Rose Mental Hospital.

The final 4.5 minutes of The New Man In Charge is definitely the heart of the piece. No, Hurley is not in Santa Rosa. Walt is. He's known as Keith Johnson, obviously. If you're wondering how Walt ended up in Santa Rosa, it seems fairly simple to figure out when you consider he visited Santa Rosa a few days before the Oceanic 6 returned to the Island. Walt is now a patient at Santa Rosa. When Ben sits down with him, he's in the middle of a game of Connect Four with himself or he might be able to see and communicate with the dead like Hurley could and Ben AND The Man in Black.

Anywho, Walt wonders why Ben came to visit. Ben tells him, as the note said, a friend sent him. Walt asks, with bitterness in his tone, if Ben came to kidnap him again. Ben didn't and he apologizes for it and he knows he can only accept responsibility for it. He can't change the past. Ben's purpose is to bring Walt to the Island. I do think Walt wanted Hurley to think back when he visited him at Santa Rosa. Walt later says he's waited a long time for someone to take him back because he never felt he belonged in the world away from The Island. Before Walt follows Ben to the Dharma van, where he meets Hurley, Ben reminds Walt that he's special and adds that he's sure he hasn't heard that word in a long time.

I appreciated the inclusion of Walt. It provided good closure for the character. Walt's been a victim throughout most of the series. His kidnapping led to his father going to extremes to free him which eventually led to his Santa Rosa stay. I think Walt eventually found the peace he's sought on the Island especially if he took the job Hurley offered him. I think he made peace with his father and found happiness.

The lack of Walt in the finale drew some of the biggest rants from the fandom. People wanted answers for why he is special. Well, there are no answers for what makes Walt special; however, from what Ben and Hurley say to Walt, what makes Walt special isn't difficult to figure out. This will anger LOST fans and early reaction to the short hasn't been great.

But, you know, it wouldn't be LOST if it didn't piss off a large amount of fans. I enjoyed "The New Man In Charge." I'm glad it was made. My days of ranting about the LOST fandom and whatnot are over.

For old time's sake, here are some other thoughts:

-If only the first shot of Walt was of him dunking over someone. During the latter part of the season, I continually hoped for Smokey to meet his end following a massive slam dunk by a 6'5 Walt.

-Michael Emerson did fine work once again which is no surprise. Malcolm David Kelley sure grew up. The two acted well together.

-Paul Edwards directed this. "The New Man In Charge" was shot during "The End" so Jack Bender was fairly busy. Melinda Hsu-Taylor, Graham Roland and Jim Galasso wrote the epilogue.


I did not purchase the Blu Ray nor the complete collection because I bought each season individually throughout the years. My reward? Less features. Thanks, ABC. I don't have the Letting Go feature or the making of the finale. I will patiently wait for some kind youtube user to upload them in the next few days.

Crafting A Final Season: This near 39 minute feature is the best of the bunch. Other television creators talk about the process of ending a show after a long run. Most of the time is spent with the writers and the production crew in Hawaii from the beginning of the season until the end. About 2-3 minutes is spent talking about Claire which I'm a fan of. Emilie de Ravin gets a rare chance to talk on a DVD feature as well. The feature is more reflective than informative from a process standpoint. The feature captures the experience of the large crew, the actors and the writers as the end of their work on LOST grows closer by the day. The highlight of the feature is watching Jorge Garcia (Hurley) read the script, respond and then become dusty when he reads about Hurley becoming the new Jacob. The feature captures the last day of work for several cast members as well as the final speeches given by Damon and Carlton to their actors and crew in the church.

A Hero's Journey: The writers talk about the hero's journey of all their characters. It's a short 8 minute feature. The most interesting part is the discussion of Sayid. The writers note that the fans will forgive Sayid for whatever he does and they seem surprised. They certainly took Sayid down a darker path in the final three seasons of the show but Sayid will always be great.

See You In Another Life, Brotha: This is all about the Sideways. It's fun listening to the actors comment on the sideways as they were shooting them. There isn't anything about the church and the culmination of the sideways. If you listened to the podcasts, you pretty much know everything the writers say about the Sideways in the feature.

LOST on Location: These have always been my favorite. They focus on the production side of an episode. Usually, if a big stunt occured, LOST on Location goes behind-the-scenes and provides a making-of. I have two favorite LOST on Locations. The first; The Substitute. We find out how the crew was able to shoot the stuff on the side of the cliff. The second, The Candidate. It was great to see Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim rehearse their death scene with Jack Bender before they shot it. LOST on Location never disappoints.

Deleted Scenes: I finally got to see the deleted scene from "What They Died For" with Claire. Crazy Claire is awesome.

LOST Bloopers: Nothing tops the season one bloopers with Harold Perrineau freaking out. I enjoyed this set of bloopers though.


LA X w/Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse: Not the best commentary from these two. I expected something similar to the season five premiere commentary but they mostly summarize what's on camera and state things fans have known since February. The two say they will talk more about the sideways in the finale commentary. Of course, there is no finale commentary. More on that next.

Across The Sea w/Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse: A superb commentary. I don't want to list everything they talk about but they talk a lot about the themes of the show, why the episode is so important, the circularity of history as well as other stuff. It's great. Once again, a finale commentary is teased and no commentary exists. Why tease the commentary twice and not deliver? Not cool, Lindelof and Cuse.

Note: I haven't listened to the other two commentaries on the DVD.


The sixth and final season of LOST on DVD is a solid purchase. I enjoyed the bonus features. Other seasons have more in-depth features about the creative process of the show. There are plenty of quality episodes to enjoy and that alone is worth the price of the DVD.

Any fan should own it. If you've never seen an episode of LOST, don't buy season six first. You won't understand the show. Thank you.

With all that said, the final shoelace has been tied on The Foot. Thank you for reading my ramblings about LOST. I had a blast.

Tomorrow, I will either review the No Ordinary Family pilot or begin previewing returning shows. VOTE IN THE COMMENTS FOR WHAT YOU WANT TO READ.


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Foot: Outlaw, Outsourced, Undercovers

Last night, my playstation 2 went into a coma. I bought the system with my 8th grade graduation money in the summer of 2001. This morning, I officially declared the console dead. Nine solid years without any problems until recently. I stated, in the past, that my video game career ends when the PS2 ended. Will I stay true to my word? Let's talk TV.

Today is the final day of looking at new shows debuting this fall on various networks. NBC is the only day split into two parts because they had six new shows and I needed to save material for today. In case anyone forgot, I am evaluating each show based on trailers and premises to determine if an individual show will crack my weekly review rotation. At the end of the entry, I will list every confirmed series that I'll review along with those on the bubble. Here we go:


Premiere Date: September 15, 2010 at 10PM

Creator: John Eisendrath

Premise: (From NBC Press Release) Starring Emmy Award winner Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue," "The West Wing"), "Outlaw" is a new drama from executive producer John Eisendrath ("Alias," "Felicity," "Playmakers"). Cyrus Garza (Smits) is a U.S. Supreme Court justice who abruptly quits the high-level position. A playboy and a gambler, Garza had always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now that he's quit the bench and returned to private practice, he's determined to represent "the little guy" and use his inside knowledge of the justice system to take on today's biggest legal cases -- and he's making plenty of powerful people unhappy along the way.

Thoughts: This show earned the Friday Night death slot. Barely any shows survive a Friday night time-slot. I wondered why. I saw the list of executive producers. Conan O'Brian is an executive producer. I'll assume that is the answer. This show comes from his Conaco productions. I think NBC is still bitter about completely screwing up the late-night lineup and, naturally, want to take it out on the poor guy who only accepted a promotion. I digress. Outlaw is a show I feel like I've seen a million times. I expected Conan's company to produce a show that isn't so generic. Each episode will have an individual case that Smits' character will either lose or win in the last second or there will be grey area that will result in generic sad/emotional music. The group Smits' character assembled will probably function like the team in Bones or House. They'll get the job done and, on the side, there will be sexual tension. One of the characters will no doubt clash with Smits' methods while another character will be mentored by Smits. The pretty blonde, who Smits says he only hired for her looks, will become the most integral member of the team. Network television is cluttered with these types of shows. I have zero interest in Outlaw.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 0%


Premiere Date: September 23, 2010 at 9:30PM

Creator: Ken Kwapis

Premise: (From NBC Press Release) "Outsourced" is a comedy where the Midwest meets the exotic East in a hilarious culture clash. The series centers on the all-American company Mid America Novelties that sells whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon -- and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India.

Thoughts: Outscored looks awful. I think Kwapis needs to take the Multiculturalism course I did last fall. This is the show that bumped Parks and Recs to mid-season. Critics aren't fans of the show. A common word attached to the show is racist. Dan Fienberg, a critic at hitfix.com, says the show isn't racist, rather, the show is xenophobic. Fienberg thinks the show is just ignorant of the different castes, races and ethnicities that exists in a diverse country such as India. He then adds that the show is probably very, very lazy. I'll agree. The 4 minute preview is awful and the writing hasn't received great reviews.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 0%


Premiere Date: September 22, 2010 at 8PM

Creator: J.J. Abrams & Josh Reims

Premise: (From NBC Press Release) Acclaimed writer/producer/director J.J. Abrams ("Star Trek," "Fringe," "Lost," "Alias") serves as co-writer, executive producer - and also directs - his first direction of a TV series pilot since "Lost" in "Undercovers" with executive producer/writer Josh Reims ("Brothers and Sisters"). "Undercovers" is a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world's most dangerous partnership. Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, "Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion," "Soul Food," "Resident Evil: Afterlife") and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, "Doctor Who," "Bonekickers"), are a typical married couple who own a small catering company in Los Angeles and are helped by Samantha's easily frazzled younger sister, Lizzy (Jessica Parker Kennedy, "Smallville"). Secretly, the duo were two of the CIA's best spies until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired. When fellow spy and friend Nash (Carter MacIntyre, "American Heiress") goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, "Deadwood") to locate and rescue Nash. The pair is thrust back into the world of espionage as they follow leads that span the globe -- and Steven and Samantha realize that this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides the excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing.

Thoughts: I think J.J. Abrams has developed a show for every network besides CBS. I already feel bad for co-creator, Josh Reims, because he will be ignored should the show hit with audiences. For awhile, J.J. Abrams received all the praise during the first season of LOST though Lindelof ran the show himself for six episodes before Carlton Cuse joined the show and co-ran it. I don't get too excited for Abrams' show. I watched the Pilot of Fringe when it aired. I didn't like it. I barely watched Felicity and Alias. Undercovers hasn't captured my interest because I never cared for spy fiction. As this is an Abrams show, the characters will be central to the series so I expect the two leads to be great. The spy stuff will exist to illuminate elements of the two main characters--most notably, their marriage. I'm going to watch the pilot to see how Abrams' return to television directing went. Bryan Burk, longtime executive producer of LOST, is an EP on the show. I'll probably keep watching. Not sure about reviews.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 53%

Allright. The shows are listed and have been discussed throughout the week. It is time to list the actual review rotation followed by the list of bubble shows. I feel like Joe Lunardi.


No Ordinary Family (which debuts September 28)

The Walking Dead


The Event


Detroit 1-8-7



Raising Hope has been crossed off the bubble because the show is getting extremely poor reviews. I think I can handle four shows.

Now that the rotation has been set, it's time to preview what's upcoming in The Foot.

Yes, the final season of LOST on DVD hits the shelves on Tuesday. Naturally, I've made sure I'll have the DVD the day of the release. Jacob's Foot returns for the final run on Monday. The duration of this run is undetermined. I've thought about a name change for the final LOST run. Instead of Jacob's Foot, it'd be a suitable name that invovles the character of Jacob. I won't reveal it until Monday.

So, in the upcoming week, plenty of reviews for bonus content on the LOST season six DVD including the last review I'll ever write for LOST original content ("The New Man In Charge"). Weekly Man vs. Wild reviews will continue because I enjoy writing about the show. Don't expect The Quotes section to return in the near future. Non-LOST content will definitely begin September 8th when I write my first Hellcats review.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Foot: Review of Man Vs. Wild + Chase, The Event, L&O

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="455" caption="No, Bear did NOT kill and skin a crocodile."][/caption]

A new episode of Man Vs. Wild aired last night on Discovery. For the second week in a row, Bear was located in the Pacific Rim. Specifically, he was in Northern Australia where the biggest threats are saltwater crocs. The episode started slow but the second half-hour picked up with intensity when Bear navigated croc waters. As usual, here are highlights from the episode:

-An episode of Man vs. Wild either ends or begins with Bear chasing a plane, a boat or human beings for rescue or take-off. This episode opened with Bear running after a plane that would fly him to a safe altitude so he could jump into the pre-historic Australian land. He always catches up with the plane but such an opening is so over-the-top and ridiculous; with that said, it's always awesome. When Bear jumped from the plane, he made sure he did some flips in the air.

-His biggest challenge during the first 30 minutes was the difficult terrain that eroded through the years. At one point, he held onto dear life after rocks gave away as he tried to journey to lower ground. He then told the viewers that a backup plan is always handy.

-Northern Australia is a hot place. The first words out of Bear's mouth concern the heat and the humidity. He talks about the importance of hydration in an environment like the one he currently is a part of. Early on, Bear finds a shady cavern with rain water. Bear builds a natural filter using grass, coal and his jacket. After pouring the dirty water into his filter, clear water emerges into his cup.

-The trademark survival dining was on the menu again after a rare week when Bear enjoyed the food he had to eat. Bear found a small body of water. He feared crocodiles but became calm after realizing it was shallow. Bear spent about a minute pouring water on himself because of the heat. He talked about the life forms swimming in a shallow body of water. Naturally, Bear's first target was a large water snake. He caught the snake easily. As he held the snake, he told a story about the Aboriginal women who simply broke a snake's neck with their teeth. Bear bites and breaks the snake's neck. I'll admit to feeling pity for the snake but that is life in the wilderness while trying to survive.

-Bear Grylls makes starting a fire look so easy that even I think I could do it within four minutes. He's also a pro with makeshift beds.

-Soon enough Bear entered croc territory. Like last week with the sharks, I was on the edge of my seat. Bear noticed one in-land and warned the viewers never assume safety when the land you're in is populated with over 100,000 crocodiles.

-He needs to cross various rivers because he wants to make it to the coast where humans live. First, he manages to climb over croc waters. Afterwards, he knows he'll need a mode of transportation. He builds another raft. The raft is better than last week's. Instead of describing what happens, YouTube can show you:

-After the fun with flesh-eating crocodiles, Bear enters maze-like terrain where he uses a stick so he doesn't walk in circles. He's been through a similar situation so not much happens. He eventually finds human footprints and a fisherman, thus ending his adventure in Northern Australia.

Overall, a quality episode of Man Vs. Wild. I remember Survivorman gave the viewer the illusion of danger even though Les Stroud never came close to any large predators like sharks or crocs. I recall his encounter with the jaguar though. By far, the most exciting moment in Survivorman. But this season of Man Vs. Wild is all about Bear coming face-to-face with large, dangerous predators. It's essentially the illusion of danger as well because Bear will never get hurt but it's different.


Now the time has arrived to dive back into assessing/previewing the new shows on the schedule for NBC. This is the fifth and final network but there is a chance that I will break NBC into two days because they a decent amount of new series. As always, I'm evaluating which shows will crack The Foot's weekly review rotation. Here we go:


Premiere Date: September 20, 2010 at 10PM

Creator: Jennifer Johnson

Premise: (From NBC Press Release) "Chase" is a fast-paced drama from Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer ("CSI" franchise, "The Amazing Race," "Pirates of the Caribbean" films) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson ("Cold Case") that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America's most dangerous fugitives.

Thoughts: I read the premise and thought the show wouldn't capture my attention or interest. Of course, I watched the trailer. I am now intrigued. The show looks entertaining. The lead, Kelli Giddish, seems great and the show seems like it has substance. Jennifer Johnson is the creator. She wrote for LOST during the first season. I hold the group of writers responsible for the first season of LOST in high regard. The fugitive featured in the trailer seems like a great character. I'm expecting a top-notch pilot; however, I wonder how the show will be on a week-to-week basis with presumably different fugitives each week. I'll lose interest if the show resembles Criminal Minds or CSI or Bones. We'll see.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 45%

The Event

Premiere Date: September 20, 2010 at 9PM

Creator: Nick Wauters

Premise: (From NBC Press Release) "The Event" is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, "The Class"), an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancee, Leila (Sarah Roemer, "Disturbia"), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Sean's quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including: newly elected U.S. President Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, "Dirty Sexy Money"); Sophia (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, "ER"), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Sean's shadowy father-in-law (Scott Patterson, "Gilmore Girls"). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. Ian Anthony Dale ("Daybreak") and Emmy winner Zeljko Ivanek ("Damages") also star in the ensemble drama.

Thoughts: I already dislike the arrogance of the producers behind this show. This is definitely a show in the style of LOST. Many shows, in the past, wanted to be LOST and failed miserably because networks and showrunners don't seem to understand what made LOST work for six seasons. Nick Wauters, the creator, wants the audience to trust that the show knows what it's doing. If this show is largely built around mythology and ignores its characters, The Event is going to fail. Quotes from TCA involved some form of attack on LOST. Not cool. The pilot got a huge response at Comic Con but no one knows what The Event is. Wauter says he spent five years crafting the show. But, really, don't compare your show with LOST. Remember when Tim Kring brought everyone Heroes with promises that he'd never mirror the style of LOST? Well, Tim Kring and his staff wrote about 13 good episodes before the series became bad then worse then terrible then awful then cancelled. Do not insult THEE show that made it possible for copycats to make it on the air. I'm going to watch this show though. I'm also going to review the show. I will be ready at all times to defend LOST. I'm a tiny voice on the large internet but if the show continues its arrogance, I will rant and criticize.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 100%

Law & Order: Los Angeles

Premiere Date: September 29, 2010 at 10PM

Creator: Dick Wolf

Premise: (From NBC Press Release) The new "Law & Order: Los Angeles" is a procedural crime drama that will follow the theme and storylines similar to the "Law & Order"-brand series on the streets of Los Angeles.

Thoughts: I watched one full episode of a Law and Order series. I believe it was the Criminal Intent spinoff. The show featured Emily Vancamp as a guest star. I think she's great. I don't care for L&O though. Never have. I only included it to let potential viewers know about the new spinoff.

Chance of Weekly Review: 0%

Thus ends Part 1 of NBC. Tomorrow is the conclusion of NBC and I'll have the complete rotation set. Three more shows tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Foot: The Hellcats Announcement

At the 2010 upfronts, The CW's motto was "Everything Old Is New Again." I have no idea what those words should mean. Does it mean they are re-making old movies or television shows? Essentially, yes. I kept thinking of a "If It Isn't Broken, Don't Fix It" motto for the network. No, The CW isn't successful but the network didn't suffer any huge losses, and they've found some successful shows like Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries; however, the network has a number of veteran shows on the schedule that will leave the airwaves in May. One would think the network would devote more time to developing new shows. There is always the upcoming developmental season. The CW features three new shows for the 2010-2011 season. Is that a smart business plan for a small network like The CW? I understand NBC developing many new series because NBC is a sinking ship. The CW is either supremely confident in their new shows or prepared to give One Tree Hill a 17th season.

As for FOX, the other network in the spotlight today, the network seems smarter now than eight years ago when they cancelled every quality show as fast as possible. They have solid hits with House, Bones, The Sunday Animation Lineup, Glee and Hell's Kitchen. Critics seem pleased with the new shows FOX developed for the fall season. Plus, they brought back the Arrested Development guys this season. I am optimistic about a FOX show getting the review treatment here.

Let us dive into the world of The CW, a channel I haven't watched in five years. FOX will follow.



Premiere Date: September 8, 2010 at 9PM

Creator: Kevin Murphy

Premise: (From The CW Press Release) HELLCATS is a coming-of-age story about Marti Perkins, a young, pre-law student at Lancer University in Memphis, Tennessee. Marti is cool, hip and alt, but her world flips upside down, literally and figuratively, when she loses her scholarship, and realizes the only way she can stay in school is by reigniting her dormant teen gymnastic skills to win a place on Lancer's legendary cheerleading team, The Hellcats. Against her every instinct, Marti goes for it and makes the squad, and is thrust into a world of camaraderie, backstabbing and the intersection of sports, backroom academia and big money. Marti's new roommate, Savannah Monroe, a petite, peppy Texan, is among the diverse cast of athletes, undergrads, family and friends, all set on the sprawling campus of a powerhouse college football program in the deep South.

Thoughts: I watched the 6 minute sneek peak that is linked above. I did enjoy the  attractive girls dancing in cheerleading outfits. I think the lead actress, Aly Michalka, has potential. The entire show seems like a cross between Glee and Bring It On. I'm not the biggest Glee fan nor the biggest fan of Bring It On. I think I can accurately predict every beat of the season as well. But you know what? The Foot needs a hook and this is a harmless 42 minutes television. I don't think any professional television critic will touch this show on a weekly basis so I will take one for the team and REVIEW this every week. I reserve the right to opt out of the weekly review at any time though.

Chances Of Weekly Review: 100% (yes I lost my mind)


Premiere Date: September 9, 2010 at 9PM

Creator: Craig Silverstein

Premise: (From The CW Press Release) When she was a deeply troubled teenager, Nikita was rescued from death row by a secret U.S. agency known only as Division, who faked her execution and told her she was being given a second chance to start a new life and serve her country. What they didn't tell her was that she was being trained as a spy and assassin. Ultimately, Nikita was betrayed and her dreams shattered by the only people she thought she could trust. Now, after three years in hiding, Nikita is seeking retribution and making it clear to her former bosses that she will stop at nothing to expose and destroy their covert operation. For the time being, however, Division continues to recruit and train other young people, erasing all evidence of their former lives and turning them into cold and efficient killers. One of these new recruits, Alex, is just beginning to understand what lies ahead for her and why the legendary Nikita made the desperate decision to run.

Thoughts: I have an irrational disdain for the Nikita franchise. I remember La Femme Nikita in the mid-90s on USA and, for some reason, it annoyed me that the show followed Monda Night Raw. I was a child then and thought wrestling was the greatest thing in the world. No, I will not watch Nikita on The CW. Yes, I'm the guy who just guaranteed Hellcats reviews weekly but I draw the line at one CW show every five years. Why is McG a producer for this show?

Chances Of Weekly Review: 0%


Lone Star

Premiere Date: September 20, 2010 at 9PM

Creator: Kyle Killen

Premise: (From FOX Press Release) a provocative soap set against the backdrop of big Texas oil. ROBERT/BOB ALLEN (newcomer James Wolk) is a charismatic and brilliant schemer who has meticulously constructed two lives in two different parts of Texas. He's juggling two identities and two women in two very different worlds - all under one mountain of lies. As "Bob," he lives in Houston and is married to CAT (Adrianne Palicki, "Friday Night Lights"), the beautiful daughter of CLINT (Jon Voight, 24, "Midnight Cowboy"), the patriarch of an ultra-wealthy Texas oil family. More than 400 miles away in the suburban west Texas town of Midland, he's "Robert," living a second life with his sweet, naive girlfriend, LINDSAY (Eloise Mumford, "Mercy," "Law & Order: SVU"). In Midland, he plays the perfect boyfriend while secretly bilking local investors of their savings. In Houston, he's a devoted husband, charming Cat and her family to cement his position in the rich family business he aims to clean out. Bob has lived both lives successfully for years without arousing any suspicions...so far. While one brother-in-law, DREW (Bryce Johnson, "Popular," "The Mentalist"), admires Bob, his other brother-in-law, TRAMMELL (Mark Deklin, "Nip/Tuck," "Desperate Housewives"), is suspicious of his motives. Bob begins to fear his secret lives may unravel. With the cons closing in on him, Bob is divided by his love for two women; his loyalty to his father and mentor, JOHN (David Keith, "An Officer and a Gentleman," "The Class"); and his respect for his father-in-law, Clint. Now as he tries to hold his two lives together, while fending off angry investors and the suspicions of those around him, Bob puts it all on the line hoping he can beat the odds, leave the schemes behind and keep two separate relationships afloat.

Thoughts: Many critics expressed concern about the long-term quality of the show. The reviews for the Pilot are great and the trailer sells the show well. I'll definitely catch the pilot but I don't foresee this being a show I'll review weekly. I'll leave the many other critics of the interweb to write about this show. I also have the gut feeling that it'll be cancelled. Marc Webb directed the Pilot. He's the guy who helmed (500) Days Of Summer. The word "soap" in the FOX press release killed much of my interest in the show but I'm not writing it off. I just won't write about it.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 0%

Raising Hope

Premiere Date: September 21, 2010

Creator: Greg Garcia

Premise: (From FOX Press Release) At 23 years old, JIMMY CHANCE (Lucas Neff, "The Beast") is going nowhere in life. He skims pools for a living, parties every night and still lives at home with his family. Jimmy's life takes a drastic turn when a chance romantic encounter with LUCY (guest star Bijou Phillips, "Choke," "Almost Famous") goes awry once he discovers she is a wanted felon. Months later, when Jimmy pays a visit to the local prison, he discovers Lucy gave birth to their baby, who he is now charged with raising. At home with his new daughter, Jimmy's family is less than enthusiastic about a new addition to the household. His parents, who had him when they were 15, never knew anything about raising a child and have no interest in trying again. If Jimmy can work up the nerve to ask her out on a date, he might get some help from SABRINA (Shannon Woodward, "The Riches," "ER"), a sardonic checkout clerk he met at the supermarket. Cousin Mike is only concerned about how the baby is going to affect their social life, and out-of-touch Maw Maw is no help either. But Jimmy is determined to take care of his baby - whom Virginia thinks they should name HOPE. With very few useful skills but their hearts in the right place, will the Chance family be successful when they step into the unpredictable and immensely challenging world of parenting?

Thoughts: The first sitcom listed. ALLRIGHT! Greg Garcia brought the world My Name Is Earl five years ago. Raising Hope looks very good. The trailer is very promising. It looks like the series will have a lot of heart and some good laughs. Some of my favorite sitcoms include Boy Meets World and Scrubs. Those were shows with tremendous heart and fully developed characters. Garcia's not a guy who will half-ass his characters like other sitcoms do, mostly ABC sitcoms. I think the show has a high chance of weekly reviews. I won't commit 100%. No real reason for that but expect Raising Hope to be in the rotation.

Chance of Weekly Review: 93%

Running Wilde

Premiere Date: September 21, 2010 at 9:30PM

Creator: Mitchell Hurwitz & Jim Vallely & Will Arnett

Premise: (From FOX Press Release) From the Emmy Award-winning creator and the star of the critically acclaimed FOX series "Arrested Development" comes RUNNING WILDE, a romantic comedy starring Will Arnett ("Arrested Development," "30 Rock") as STEVE WILDE, a filthy-rich, immature playboy trying desperately to win (or buy) the heart of his childhood sweetheart, EMMY KADUBIC (Keri Russell, "Waitress," "Felicity"), the uber-liberal humanitarian who got away - all told through the perspective of a 12-year-old girl.

Thoughts: I will watch anything the Arrested Development guys write because of the brilliance of Arrested Development. I won't know what to make of Running Wilde until a few episodes in. The trailer isn't great and I wonder if Will Arnett can handle being the lead on a sitcom. The role is good for him because no one plays rich, obnoxious and aloof quite like Will Arnett but I wonder how things will go when Steve Wilde undergoes a change of heart and all that. I like the Will Arnett characters to be like Gob Bluth. No apologies at all. Keri Russell is terrific. I'm intrigued by the 'all told through the perspective of a 12-year-old-girl' angle. I'll resist making comparisons to Arrested Development. AD is, perhaps, the greatest comedy America has produced.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 80%

Tomorrow is NBC.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Foot: The Walking Dead, Terriers and some HBO show

Tuesday doesn't seem like the most exciting day to dive into the world of cable television. Writing about cable television shows seems like something one does on a Thursday. I don't know why. Nevertheless, today is all about assessing the new shows premiering in the fall on various cable OR premium channels.

My number one guide for new shows in the fall does not have every cable/premium channel show in an organized way like they do for the five networks. As will be the case throughout the week, I'm trying to determine which shows will be reviewed weekly in The Foot. Of course, should any screeners come my way, a show will guarantee a spot in the review rotation. I'm not a fan of reality television but I'm not ruling out the next Real World/Road Rules challenge because the show is a delight.

Instead of separating the new shows by channel, I will merely list which channel will air said new show. Also, I will actually include premiere dates for the rest of the week. I meant to yesterday but became distracted and forgot. Anywho, here we go:

The Walking Dead

Channel: AMC

Premiere Date: October 2010 (Date TBA)

Creator: Robert Kirkman (Comic Book) & Frank Darabont (TV)

Premise: (From AMC Press Release) The Walking Dead tells the story of the weeks and months that follow a pandemic zombie apocalypse. County Sheriff Rick Grimes travels with his family and a small group of survivors, constantly in search of a safe and secure home. But the constant pressure of fighting off death on a daily basis takes a heavy toll, sending many to the lowest depths of human cruelty. As Rick struggles to keep his family alive, he will discover that the overwhelming fear of the survivors can be far more dangerous than the mindless walkers roaming the earth.

Thoughts: I admit I only became aware of the series after talking with Colin of PCA. The above YouTube video is the trailer though the quality is poor because it's from Comic Con. I didn't find a high quality trailer on YouTube to embed. My apologies. AMC plans on premiering the show during the channel's Fear Fest, the annual marathon of horror movies leading up to All Hallow's Eve. People adore the comic book and I do enjoy genre shows quite a lot. The zombie craze hasn't reached the levels of the vampire craze. Is it even a craze? In recent years, zombies have entered the pop culture spectrum. I doubt young girls can find the ideal romantic hero in a zombie tale. As a child, I enjoyed zombie films. Me and my sister used to rent old, campy zombie films from the now extinct West Coast Video. Who can forget about the great zombies in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video? My personal history with zombies aside, the premise of The Walking Dead is extremely compelling. I always enjoy tales that explore the humanity of mankind in the face of awful situations and circumstances.

The Walking Dead's first season will be short--only six episodes. I've read that season two will be 13 episodes. Regardless, The Walking Dead has the potential to be awesome.

Before I give the percentage for chances of reviewing, I'd like to gauge the interest of Post Collegiate Apocalypse in reviewing the first season. If you want to, it's all yours. As for me...

Chances Of Weekly Review: 87%


Channel: FX

Premiere Date: September 8, 2010 at 10PM

Creator: Ted Griffin

Premise: (From FX Press Release) A comedic drama that centers on "Hank Dolworth" (Logue), an ex-cop who partners with his best friend "Britt Pollack" (Raymond-James) to launch an unlicensed private investigation business. The duo, both struggling with maturity issues, solve crimes while avoiding danger and responsibility.

Thoughts: The writing staff is stacked. Tim Minear, of ANGEL and Firefly flame, is on the staff as well as former ANGEL writer and the creator of The Shield, Shawn Ryan. Ted Griffin, the creator, is from Ocean's Eleven. The show has earned great reviews and the potential, with the talent of those writers alone, is huge. Luckily, very few people read press releases for shows because the premise that FX wrote is really week. The show has a lot of promise based on the trailer; however, I think I'll need to watch the pilot and write about it to determine whether or not to review it weekly. Craig Brewer directed the pilot.

Chances Of Weekly Review: 60%

Boardwalk Empire

Channel: HBO

Premiere Date: September 19, 2010 at 9PM

Creator: Terrence Winter

Premise: (From HBO Press Release) Set in 1920 at the dawn of Prohibition, this new series chronicles the life and times of "Nucky" Thompson, the undisputed leader of Atlantic City, who was equal parts politician and gangster.

Thoughts: Martin Scorcese directed the pilot. Mark Wahlberg is an executive producer. Steve Buscemi stars. I'm definitely watching the show but I doubt I'll review it. It's on a premium channel and I do not want to isolate any readers. As always with HBO, the production values are top-notch and the cast should knock it out of the park every week. I'm a fan of period pieces and look forward to the look of Atlantic City in the 20s. Critics are raving about the series. I think it'll be tremendous.

Chances Of Weekly Review: 0%

Tomorrow, I explore what The CW and FOX have up their sleeves for the fall season.


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Foot: Looking At News Shows on ABC & CBS

The 2010-2011 network television season begins sooner than anyone would think. Series and season premieres are usually an exciting time of the year. It's always fun to wonder, with a returning show, whether or not quality will remain or the downward spiral is about to begin or will continue. Allright, it was only fun wondering how much more terrible Heroes would get.

This season there is a fresh crop of television shows that I hope captures my imagination, creative verse and has a weekly word count between 2,000 and 3,000 but a show would have to be downright LOSTian for such a word count honor. Ideally, I'd like to review shows that aren't reviewed by the majority of critics and blogs. I won't review an existing television show because every show I watch is already well-reviewed by smart critics and discussed online by intelligent fans. It is due time for The Foot to review something from the beginning until its ending. Of course, when I begin watching a show, I rarely leave the show mid-run. Whatever shows I choose to review will be reviewed regardless of possible diminishing qualities.

For the next few days, I'll list the possible shows to review along with some thoughts about each one. Today, we'll begin with ABC and CBS.


Detroit 187

Creator: Jason Richman

Premise: What does it take to be a detective in one of America's toughest cities? Follow one homicide unit as Detroit's finest unearth the crisis and revelation, heartbreak and heroism of these inner city cops in this series shot entirely in Detroit, Michigan. (ABC Press Release)

Thoughts: I'm not the biggest fan of cop shows. The trailer for the show is intriguing though. Early reviews from critics such as Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg have been favorable. I'll admit there are certain shows that I've decided to review without seeing a single episode for reasons that will eventually be explained. The identity of those shows will be revealed in time. Detroit 187 is something I'd need to watch before making a decision on whether to write about it. The characters seem like archetypes rather than fully developed characters but all I have is what the ABC press release says about the characters. Michael Imperioli plays Louie Fitch, the most respected cop in homicide but, of course, he's the most misunderstood. The show has the rookie cop who throws up at crime scenes as well as the "young, sexy, edgy and beautiful" Ariana Sanchez who emerged from a rough background to become a rising star in the apartment. I'll check out the pilot and see what happens. The trailer's intriguing.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 50%

My Generation

Creator: Noah Hawley

Premise: What a difference ten years can make. In 2000, a documentary crew follows a disparate group of high schoolers from Greenbelt High School in Austin, TX as they prepare for graduation, then revisits these former classmates ten years later as they return home to rediscover that just because they're not where they planned doesn't mean they're not right where they need to be. (ABC Press Release)

Thoughts: The scope of the narrative seems very large. I gather that the show is about how the aughts shaped the lives of these characters and that the creator, Noah Hawley, wants to deal with the tremendous amount of history that happened in the last 10 years through these nine characters. The show is an ensemble with nine regulars. Firefly succeeded with such a large cast but I wonder if My Generation can accomplish everything they want to.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 24%

No Ordinary Family

Creators: Greg Berlanti & Jon Harmon Feldman

Premise: (from ABC's press release, May 2010) The Powells are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. After 16 years of marriage, Jim and Stephanie's relationship lacks the spark it once had, and their family life now consists of balancing work and their two children, leaving little time for family bonding. During a family vacation set up by Jim in an attempt to reconnect, their plane crashes into the Amazon River. But this is where the fun starts for the Powells, as they soon discover that something's not quite right. Each of them now possesses unique and distinct superpowers. But saving and savoring their family life will be equally important, as they try to find purpose for their new powers and embark on a journey to find out what defines and unifies them. The Powells are a totally relatable family who happen to be a little bit amazing.

Thoughts: I love Julie Benz. I'm forever a fan of hers because of her role as Darla on Buffy and ANGEL. The series co-creator is Greg Berlanti. He created Everwood, one of my favorite dramas of all-time. I was intrigued by the premise since I heard about in May during Upfronts. I trust Berlanti, Feldman and their writers can avoid the problems that Heroes had. I don't think the series will tap into its potential until the second or third episode. The pilot should be a great foundation for the show to build on. Critics responded favorably to the pilot. I have high hopes for the series and yes, this is one of the shows I determined I'd review quite awhile ago.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 100%


Blue Bloods

Creator: Mitch Burgess

Premise: A drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. (From CBS Press Release)

Thoughts: There's more to the premise than that, obviously. It seems like Will Estes' character, Jamie (the youngest son), will be the central character as Jamie's life takes an abrupt turn when he's asked to be part of a "clandestine police investigation" that his father, Fran Reagan (Tom Selleck) knows nothing about. I don't have any interest in Blue Boods. The story's built around a world of law enforcement, courts and lawyers and I have no interest in entering that world weekly. I included Blue Bloods because readers might have interest in a show like this.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 0%

The Defenders

Creators: Kevin Kennedy & Niels Mueller

Premise: (From CBS Press Release) Jim Belushi and Jerry O' Connell star in a comedic drama about two colorful Las Vegas defense attorneys who go all-in when it comes to representing their clients. Leading the law firm of Morelli & Kaczmarek are Nick Morelli (Belushi), an earnest, hard-charging attorney who represents his clients to the best of his ability, no matter how big or small the case, and his partner, Pete Kaczmarek (O'Connell), whose passion for the law is matched only by his love of fast cars, beautiful women and expensive clothes. Joining them in their growing law practice is new associate Lisa Tyler (Jurnee Smollett), an enthusiastic young attorney looking to put her exotic dancing days behind her; and their young assistant, Sophie (Tanya Fischer), a spunky and sweet ingenue who is eager to please her bosses. As Lady Luck shines on their legal careers, the partners have their hands full when it comes to their personal lives. While Pete is busy cruising the Vegas Strip for his latest romantic conquest, Nick is focused on repairing his fractured marriage to his estranged wife, Jessica (Gillian Vigman), while remaining present in the life of their young son.

Thoughts: No. No way. NO.

Chance Of Weekly Review: 0%

Hawaii Five-O

Creators: Alex Kurtzman & Peter Lenkrov & Roberto Orci

Premise: HAWAII FIVE-0 is a contemporary take on the classic series about a new elite federalized task force whose mission is to wipe out the crime that washes up on the Islands' sun-drenched beaches.

Thoughts: Critics liked the pilot a lot. I never watched the original series. Paul Zybszewski is a co-executive producer on the show. He worked on LOST for the last two years so I'm encouraged by his involvement on the show. Daniel Dae Kim also works for the show. A LOST presence, though small, still exists in Hawaii. The show looks fun and the cast seems likeable. I will certainly watch the pilot and, perhaps, a few more episodes.

Chances of Weekly Review: 15%


Friday, August 13, 2010

The Foot: English Premier League

I anticipate that today's English Premier League Predictions/Preview will drive away potential readers in droves. After all, the perception in America is that soccer is too boring and that nothing happens. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the country that celebrates the sport of golf? It takes nearly 10 hours to play one round of golf. You could watch five soccer games in that timespan. Of course, this is the country that loves high scoring games in any sport. The NHL constantly explores ways to have MORE scoring and heaven forbid a tie happens in the sport of hockey. The NFL hands out points without record and NBA games are nothing but scoring. Many soccer detractors dislike the 1-0, 2-0, 0-0 finishes in the sport even if the two teams played splendidly. Don't misunderstand me because I love all four major American sports but the time for disrespecting the great game of soccer is over. I mean, the people of our country come off like morons when they toss aside soccer like the sport is a worthless piece of junk because every country, besides America, loves soccer.

Of course, the sport isn't understood very well. Ask any sports fan why he or she dislikes soccer and the response will be silly. An inquisitor will hear nonsense answers regarding stoppage time or ties or the cliche "it's too boring" answer. Should one ask for elaboration on the latter answer, the elaboration won't be satisfying. The game itself isn't hard to grasp or understand. Soccer is a very smart game; it's tactical and strategical. If you watched any of the first group games in the World Cup, you saw tight and defensive affairs. Each team wouldn't stray from their tactics because the points meant everything. As the tournament progressed, games opened up and the latter rounds contained exciting and fun soccer; however, the best soccer in the world isn't World Cup soccer.

The consenus choice for Best Soccer is the UEFA Champions League because the top teams from the top leagues play. The other choices for Best Soccer are the EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A etc because teams know each other very well. The best hockey a fan will see is in the NHL, not the Olympics for the same reasons.

The difficult part of soccer is immersing oneself in the large scope of the game i.e. the leagues. The only league I'm very familiar with is the EPL. Serie A or La Liga is next but it's a learning process. Since ESPN and FSC can air games from the best leagues in the world, I must take advantage of the opportunity which is why the soccer element of The Foot does not end today with the EPL. There are even MORE leagues to cover after the EPL.

I implore my fellow Americans to watch soccer games with an open mind. Leave your judgments and assumptions at the door. Also, actually read my EPL picks/preview.


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You, the reader, won't find mind-blowing insight about the EPL because I'm still learning about each team and all the players while attemtping to follow the transfer window. I'm just having fun.

Here is a breakdown of the importance of where a team finishes:

1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams play in the Champions League while the 4th place team plays in Champions League Qualifying. The 5th place team plays in the Europea league. 18-20 are relegated.

1. Manchester United

Reason: I like the changes Sir Alex Ferguson made to the team. They seem more formidable than last year and they almost won the EPL. Rooney should play out of his mind yet again. I watched them in the FA Community Shield game last Sunday and the team was on fire. Van Der Sar is back in net. Paul Scholes was awesome in the mid-field. I don't think they'll win the Champions league though. Also, Man U supporters are frustrated by the owners lack of spending so not all is sunshine in Old Trafford.

2. Chelsea

Reason: I'm probably playing it safe but Chelsea is fantastic team. They didn't look ready enough during their game with Man U on Sunday. The team wants to bring in Neymar from Brazil (the guy who made the US defense look silly on Tuesday) and they still have Drogba and Lampard though they lost Michael Ballack. Chelsea expects nothing less than winning both the EPL and the UEFA Champions League.

3. Manchester City

Reason: The team is so damn talented that they're bound to break through into the top four. They just landed Mario Balotelli, the 19 year old Italian sensation AND David Silva. Carlos Tevez remains and they still have Emmanuel Adebayor plus the additions of Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng (who starred for Germany in the World Cup). City was miserable on the road last season which doomed their hope for Champions League qualification so if they can stop losing to a team like Wigan on a Monday night late in the year they should flourish.

4. Arsenal

Reason: The Fabregas drama seems like it has subsided. Barcelona wants Fabregas badly after the World Cup but Arsenal managed to keep him in the Emirates. Nick Hornby's favorite team is Arsenal and they used to be England's version of the Red Sox but, now, they are a mainstay in top 5 of the EPL and a contender for the Champions League crown always. Their uniforms are awesome.

5. Tottenham Hotspur

Reason: I've read that Spurs are a team that struggles with consistency so it seems like disappointment will occur at White Hart Lane after finishing fourth last season. Fun fact: their name comes from Shakespeare's Henry IV play. As someone with an English degree, I appreciate that.

6. Liverpool

Reason: Bad times for Liverpool last season. They destroyed streaks constantly in ESPN's streak for the cash and they were atrocious on the road. Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard remain the stars of the team. I'm not sure what fans expect from Liverpool. I just know I'll rarely pick the team in Streak for the Cash.

7. Fulham

Reason: Fulham have great, great uniforms. The team advanced to the Europa League final last season; however, the fanbase seems devastated by the loss of the coach who brought them there but success seems certain for Fulham. Clint Dempsey, one of America's favorite soccer plays, is a member of Fulham.

8. Everton

Reason: Their front office wants Landon Donovan back after an impressive run with the team last season. I'm unfamiliar with their roster as a whole but I know the team had success last season. They also play in Liverpool.

9. Birmingham City

Reason: I like the grit of this team. Money drama exists within the team though. This is a theme of the EPL: lots of money problems. It's not what one wants to read, y' know?

10. Aston Villa

Reason: Love/hate relationship with their uniforms. In my brief research, I gathered that the team lost a key player and experts wouldn't be surprised if the team unraveled. I don't know if 10th place means unraveled though. I imagine so. Bob Bradley, current US Men's coach, is rumored to become manager for Aston Villa. One would think the hiring would happen soon since the season begins tomorrow.

11. Stoke City

Reason: The team just landed the great Kenwyne Jones, formerly of Sunderland. Stoke's hovered around this area in the standings for the last few years. Jones could help the team finish in the top ten because he is awesome.

12. Bolton

Reason: Why not? I sort of adopted Bolton as my team when I played FIFA. According to my sources, actual optimism surrounds the team this season. YES! Any time I hear the name Bolton, I think of the great Monty Python skit entitled "Blackmail!"

13. Blackpool

Reason: I know absolutely nothing about Blackpool. FSC nor ESPN airs their games. Well, goal.com describes the team as a nightmare and fully expects "thumping defeats" and relegation. So glad I picked them to finish 13th.

14. Blackburn

Reason: They are called The Rovers and are in much better shape than goody Blackpool. I apologize to any Blackburn supporters for placing them 14th behind Blackpool.

15. Newcastle United

Reason: THE MAGPIES! They return to the EPL after being relegated a year ago and the team doesn't want to go back to the Championship league again. I wonder how fans react to that. If you're a pirates fan, you're resigned to losing but Newcastle would be demoted and then probably get promoted again. I imagine it'd be frusting but I'll never experience one of my favorite teams being demoted.

16. Sunderland

Reason: On one hand, the team deserves something for playing in The Stadium of Light. The place sounds biblical but they gave away Kenwyne Jones. They were impressive for a stretch last season before they hit a wall and were near relegation before finishing the season in 11th place.

17. Wigan Athletic

Reason: Roberto Martinez provided analysis during the World Cup so I refuse to pick his team to be relegated. That's all I got.

18. West Ham United

Reason: In a perfect world, West Ham would be where Blackpool is. Unfortunately, West Ham's going to be relegated. West Ham fans are excited for the season because of recent signings. Yep.

19. Wolverhampton

Reason: Do I hate names that begin with the letter W? You decide for yourself. I simply forgot about Wolves. They seem like an average group who got lost in the shuffle.

20. West Bromwich Albion

Reason: Yet another name beginning with W. No one trusts their strikers and that is not good for a team's success.

More Leagues. More Predictions. NEXT 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 in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.