Friday, March 28, 2008

Prison Break – Dr. Sara Tancredi Returns

Michael Ausiello of TV Guide says that Prison Break fans should be prepared for a shocker: the return of Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies), head intact. I just KNEW that wasn’t her head in that box! Here’s the scoop from TV Guide:

Prison Break Stunner: Sarah Wayne Callies Returns!

Prison Break fans, prepare to seriously lose your heads.

Sarah Wayne Callies — whose rather ugly contract dispute with producers led to her apparent decapitation last October — is returning next season. Full-time. As Dr. Sara Tancredi. Head and all. Seriously.

How? Why? When? WTF?! All legitimate questions. Good thing I just hung up with Mr. Answer Man (aka executive producer Matt Olmstead).

So... I take it that wasn't Sara's head in that box....
Matt Olmstead: Yeah, that wasn't.

But initially it was supposed to be her head. What changed?
Olmstead: What changed was.... once we realized that the emotional hook of Season 3 was going to be the death of Sara, when we didn't get the actress to do it, as soon as we wrote it and shot it, we realized that there was actually a way she could still be alive. Lincoln glanced at the head in the box for a split second. That could've been anyone. He wasn't about to pull it up from the hair and inspect it closely. And then we were fairly careful thereafter of references we made to that and who took credit for it and what was seen or heard, and we left it fairly [vague]. But initially when we realized that we never actually saw the character get killed, we just had that knowledge in our back pocket and moved forward with the narrative as we intended. Which was: she's out of the picture, Michael's [feeling guilty] and Lincoln is freaking out because if they did that to her, they could do that to his son. It really gave us a real push for the season.

Don't you think that was a little unfair to the audience — particularly fans of Dr. Sara — to jerk them around like this? They had every reason to believe she was dead.
Olmstead: I don't think it was unfair, because it gave us some real juice storytelling-wise — it put teeth in the antagonists. Obviously they were now capable of killing somebody. It also gave us a couple of episodes where Lincoln withheld the information from Michael, and that gave us conflict with the brothers. But also, what were we really going to do? Were we going to see Sarah Wayne Callies tied to a chair for 13 episodes? And then if she broke free, what is she really doing? It was almost a disservice to that character to keep her around last season. Certainly, we could have put her on a cruise ship and she's off sailing away. But we felt that if we're going to lose that character, why not get the most drama out of it? We didn't look at it in terms of [us] trying to tell the audience to go, you know, do something to themselves.

What role did the fan response to Dr. Sara's death play in her return?
Olmstead: It factored in. It was kind of a confluence of events. We saw on the message boards that a lot of fans were wondering if she really was dead. And then that led to conversations of, "Well, what if she isn't?" But then we put that on the back burner and moved forward with what we had to do, because it wasn't anything that could be dealt with right then. And then when we came back after the strike and we realized that we were not going to finish Season 3... we creatively decided to blow it all out, jump forward in the timeline and get a fresh start. And so, when we pitched that, a lot of those elements remained, but we were still looking for that emotional core for Michael. We were kind of exactly where we were in the beginning of Season 3, which led to her demise, quote unquote. So we went back and revisited [the idea of bringing her back to life]. And once we started talking about it, it was mentioned again that fans are still wondering about her. And when people who are fans of the show — and of Sarah — are asking, "Is she really dead?", what they're saying, essentially, is, "I hope she's not dead." And then it became a kind of groundswell.

But then you have to get the actress to agree to return, which I assume was no easy task given the bad blood that seemed to exist last season.
Olmstead: There wasn't bad blood on our side. It was a business decision. I understood where she was coming from in that she was given a provisional assurance that she was going to be a part of Season 3, but we had to revisit Season 3 a couple of times in the pitch stage in order to get it picked up. Fox was still looking for that emotional hook. Once we came up with the idea of her character going away, that gave us what we needed to push things over the edge. And although we were comfortable with it, she wasn't. I also understand on a personal level how it factored in. She was pregnant at the time and looking forward to giving birth, and this wasn't something she was interested in doing.

What changed for her that she's willing to come back now?
Olmstead: She and I spoke a couple of days ago at length about what we have come up with creatively for her character.... We're jumping ahead a little bit in the timeline. There's a little bit of a mystery period for all of these characters in terms of how they got where they are and what happened to them. And we have some interesting things for her, and she responded to them creatively. We won't just be picking up where we left off with her character. And she won't be a damsel in distress waiting for her hero to return. There are some complicating factors involved with her character and things that she's looking forward to. So we spoke about it, she thought about it, and we made a deal.

No hard feelings, then? Everyone's moving on?
Olmstead: Moving on. She's a very smart lady, and we're all adults here. It was never personal. It was a business and creative decision, and we're absolutely moving on.

Can you say how she'll be reintroduced next season?
Olmstead: It's going to be about figuring out what happened to her during that mystery period [between the end of Season 3 and the start of Season 4], and how she and Michael deal with it.

How much time will have lapsed?
Olmstead: About a month. Enough to jump past expected events that we left hanging at the end of Season 3, answering those things, but also moving forward.

And Sarah is onboard for the entire season?
Olmstead: Yes.”

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

CSI-Miami’s David Caruso Speaks About The State of Serialized TV

The Daily Yomiuri, from Osaka, Japan, has an article about David Caruso (CSI-Miami) and his comments about the show, and the demise of serialized TV. One scary comment he made was that the show “Baywatch” was “pretty good.” Maybe he was watching the show with rose-colored sunglasses?

Caruso sees demise of serialized TV

Cristoph Mark / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

"I think there's a general move away from [serialization]," David Caruso, star of the massively popular TV series CSI: Miami, tells The Daily Yomiuri during a trip to Japan to promote the DVD release of his show's third and fourth seasons.

The insight in many ways defies commonly held beliefs--shows such as Heroes, Lost, 24 and Battlestar Galactica have found large and loyal audiences around the world despite plotlines that must be closely followed. The change, from Caruso's standpoint, has come about because of syndication.

"The people I talk to on a regular basis watch the CSI: Miami marathons and so on, and [the episodes are] all mixed together," he says. "And people are watching CSI: Miami in a somewhat general way, meaning they're watching episodes from a mix of seasons. It's really changed as a format and heading in the direction in which everything [else] is going, which is more of an on-demand thing. What's significant about that change is that the network airing is not the cornerstone of the relationship anymore.

"I'm sure CBS will be happy to hear that," he says with a laugh, referring to the network channel that premiers new episodes.

Caruso got his start on U.S. television in 1981 on a poorly rated made-for-TV movie called Crazy Times. Soon after, however--and following one of his more successful forays into film, which included minor roles in An Officer and a Gentleman and First Blood--he made his debut in a police drama, the ever-popular CHiPs. Something seems to have caught his interest at this point, because he later appeared in a number of police dramas, including T.J. Hooker, Hill Street Blues, Crime Story and NYPD Blue, which he notoriously quit just before the show hit big in order to pursue what he thought would be a lucrative film career.

Though that success never materialized, his move back to television in the form of Horatio Caine on the CSI franchise has placed him square in the limelight. So much so, in fact, on a February 2007 episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, comedian Jim Carrey poked fun at Caine's habit of dramatically putting on his sunglasses mid-one-liner.

"I think that what happens to you is that once it [your character] becomes part of the culture, there's the discovery part and then there's the part where they have to have fun with it," Caruso ponders. "And that's cool. And that's also part of its arrival. When Jim Carrey did the impression of the character on David Letterman, he had fun with it. But there's also the part where it's a real affirmation going on there. And that's Jim Carrey doing an impression--regardless of what he does, that's not a bad thing. If he's going to take two minutes on Letterman to do Horatio Caine, that means that the character's arrived."

He and the show have not only arrived in the United States, but in Japan and much of the rest of the world. "CSI: Miami is the No. 1 show in the world, and it has understood embracing that," he says.

Here in Japan, it has run daily on TV Tokyo affiliates (currently, the channel is showing CSI: NY) and on the satellite channel AXN, where it is broadcast several times a week. And this month marks the DVD release of the series' fourth season.

In Europe, according to an October 2005 article on, "That popularity may have something to do with the Baywatch and Miami Vice effect in that Euro audiences tend to have a predilection for watching beautiful (American) people--especially when the characters hang out near beaches."

"I don't know," Caruso says in response to a comparison between his show and the classic David Hasselhoff series that featured well-endowed women running down the beach in slow motion. "Baywatch is pretty good."

"Well, we have some pretty attractive people on our show, so I think that we're covered where that component is concerned. But at the end of the day, it's a law enforcement show, it's in a tropical setting, but there are some impactful things that take place."

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Returns April 4

Image from Sci-Fi

Science fiction fans probably already have their calendars marked for April 4, 2008, which is the date for the return of the reportedly final season of Battlestar Galactica.

I’m happy about both – the return AND the final season.

Why? Well, I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with this show. I really enjoyed that they took a campy, cheesy late 1970s science fiction TV show and turned it into something much deeper and much more intense. The current version is somehow darker and more desperate. Unfortunately, that’s also the part of the show I have grown to dislike. It seems to wallow in its own darkness, with story lines that sometimes drag so deep into despair that it ceases to become even remotely entertaining on any level.

There were some episodes in the last seasons where the storylines wasted too much time on individual characters. It seems that they sacrificed the story of their desire to get to earth by dwelling too much on the crew’s inner turmoil. I don’t mind shows that make you think or reflect, but I don’t like shows where the angst is so oppressive that you feel like you’re being slowly strangled while watching.

The low point of the series, I thought, was “Fat Apollo” – which is how Jamie Bamber refers to himself in the role. Of course, the normal svelte Bamber was wearing what they call a “fat suit,” but that still didn’t make it any better. Maybe because it seemed obvious it was a fat suit? Yes I understand the whole purpose of the storyline, which seemed to indicate Apollo had given up in more ways than one. Still, I thought it was a storyline that could have been best avoided.

It also seems like that the show became overly cerebral and almost devoid of action. The series initially appealed to me because of its action and clearly improved special effects from the 1970’s version, but then the series just seemed to slide helplessly into a mass of darkness and confusion.
So I will be watching when the season premiers on April 4, but not really because I want to. I feel like I have to. I’m hoping this final season will bring some closure to a series that started off so well.

By the way, the April 4 epsiode summary is below, along with a promo and interview:

He That Believeth in Me
Season 4 picks up where the third-season finale left off, with Starbuck's mysterious return unhinging the Galactica crew in the middle of a Cylon attack. Meanwhile, Anders enters the space melee and has a surprising standoff with a Cylon raider.

Short Promo Preview

Preview and Interviews (From Hypaspace)

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

CSI-Miami Returns With Three New Episodes

From "You May Now Kill the Bride"

CSI Miami returns on Monday, March 24 with new episodes. Only brief synopses are available at this time. We’ll get a two part episode, airing Monday 3/31 and Tuesday 4/1. And that’s no April Fools.

A horrifying sight for any bride

March 24 “You May Now Kill the Bride”
A bride is murdered at her wedding and one of the suspects is the groom, who is a professional baseball player. The investigation leads the CSIs to a strip club where the bachelor party took place.

March 31 “Ambush”
Part 1 of 2. Horatio (David Caruso) investigates a murder that may be connected to Julia (Elizabeth Berkley), but she has him extradited to Brazil to face murder charges for a killing he committed two years ago. Meanwhile, Calleigh (Emily Procter) is cyberstalked by someone who is putting her alleged work mistakes on the Internet.

"Ambush" Image from Modern Day Gallery

April 1 All In
Conclusion. Horatio faces murder charges in Brazil for a killing he committed two years ago, and the team searches for Calleigh (Emily Procter) after she is kidnapped.

You know, I haven’t had a good laugh in weeks, so I’m looking forward to CSI-Miami’s return.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bones Returns with New Episodes on April 14

Image from Fox

Finally we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel with some good shows returning with new episodes. Bones will be coming back to Fox on a new day, MONDAY, April 14.

I could only find some brief details on this new episode, called “The Baby in the Bough:"

"A woman's car is run off the road and she is killed, but her baby miraculously survives the accident. Booth and Brennan go to the woman's hometown to try to find out who's responsible for running her car off the road. Bones, with help from Booth, takes care of the baby until the team finds out who killed the mother."

Bones is one of those shows that can grow on you. I’ve been watching it since the show premiered and admit I was a little shaky about it at first. I think it was because of the cheesy, hard to swallow special effects in the lab, and the even more cheesy car scenes that clearly speared to be filmed in a stationary car with a film backdrop. It reminded me of a bad 1950s movie. I suppose I can understand why the producers may not have wanted to put tons of money into a show that they may not have been sure of its success.

In case you haven’t seen the show, here’s some background information. The show is centered on Dr. Temperence Brennan (Emily Deschanel) who is probably the tops in her field of forensic anthropology. She works at the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington, DC, and writes novels as a sideline. (It’s based on books by real life author Kathy Reichs.) Because her career centers on bones, she has earned the nickname “Bones” from Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), who is with the FBI's Homicide Investigations Unit, and brings Bones into cases that require her forensic skills. Her staff at the Jeffersonian supports her in solving these crimes.

The show is like a lot of the crime procedurals on television now, but it has one important difference – the center of the show seems to be the chemistry between Booth and Bones. Over time, they have made this relationship a mixture of attraction, annoyance, respect, with a little comedy thrown in. Somewhere in there is usually a case to be investigated. The show has a tendency at times to go a little over the top on the grossness level, but considering her field, I suppose it’s to be expected.

The relationship between Booth and Bones – the spark – is what keeps the show going and makes it very enjoyable. Emily Deschanel’s monotone, clinical delivery plays very well off of David Boreanaz’s playful, yet sometimes cynical banter. While the plots are sometimes thin and the supporting cast sometimes a distraction (case in point Bones’ boss Dr. Saroyan (Tamara Taylor)), the show works well and provides a decent hour of entertainment.

So I’m excited that the show is coming back with some new episodes. Hopefully I’ll have no Bones to pick with it.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

CSI Miami’s David Caruso – Unbearable?!

Who would believe that people would say David Caruso is unbearable on the set of CSI Miami? Ummmm, well, how about everybody? The following story featured by MSNBC shouldn’t be of any surprise to anyone who knows Caruso back from his NYPD Blue days. But it made me snicker, just the same. Oh yeah, the extra bonus piece from the Defamer below was just icing on the cake for me. Funny thing is, the campy and over the top Caruso is one of the reasons why I watch CSI Miami. It’s certainly not for the quality of the stories or the acting.

Caruso accused of being difficult, demanding

A snitch on the set of "CSI: Miami" says that star David Caruso spits, curses and acts like a "man-child" when filming.

By Ree Hines
MSNBC contributor
updated 10:16 p.m. ET, Mon., March. 17, 2008
Lieutenant Horatio Caine may be Miami’s smoothest lawman, but according to one insider, the actor behind the character is more of a demanding diva. Defamer reports that “CSI: Miami’s” David Caruso stands accused of spitting, cursing and behaving like a tortured “man-child” on set.

“(David) can't walk and talk at the same time (you should see him on stairs), requires dozens of takes for simplest line-readings (which as we all know, he can only do one way) and can't even put his ‘CSI’ gloves on on-camera (always a time cut, just watch),” said a source going by the moniker “OnSetSnitch.”

“Snitch,” who claims to have witnessed production of almost 50 episodes of the hit show, contacted Defamer after the site posted a story about David’s sunglasses-enhanced acting method. (NOTE: The Defamer Info is posted below this MSNBC article)

“Caruso is without a doubt, the most tortured, saddest man-child/ actor I've ever seen in over 15 years of movie and TV-making.” The alleged insider went on to say, “He will cuss uncontrollably (often in front of a child actor) and blame everyone but himself for his inability to act. He used to hack up big loogies on the floor of the set, too, until a producer gently reminded him of sanitation and courtesy.”

Here’s the Defamer piece:

Mannerisms David Caruso Bullies Young Director Into Shooting Umpteenth Sunglasses Removal Scene

By now, seemingly every pop culture pundit worth their weight in punchlines has latched onto the high comedic value of David Caruso's effusive stylings on CSI: Miami. In particular, The Soup's Joel McHale has taken extreme delight in (and created a cottage industry from) Caruso's patented "I'm going to hastily remove my sunglasses while I deliver this one-liner" maneuver. But until we read this insider's account of Caruso's excruciating acting process on Popbitch, the TV viewer in us always just kind of naively assumed that these moments happened semi-serendipitously. But boy oh boy, were we ever wrong:
David Caruso asks [the show's director] when there will be a close up of [his] sunglasses - in every scene.

Here's the full, unedited text of the Popbitch item (typos/Anglo-isms theirs):

Just back from LA and was staying with a friend who's in Jericho. One of the scriptwriters for the show used to work on CSI: Miami and apparently David Caruso r4eally is the arse he appears. A new director was setting up a shot and as he was laying out the scene suggested that Caruso should walk through a door, into a room and pick up a bottle of something and open it etc. The producers took the tyro to one side and pointed out that "David gets a bit lost in props". Reasonably pointing out that it was quite a simple manoeuvre he was told that there was only a limited amount of time for the shoot and David didn't have the time to work out the meaning of the props. Gradually the action was whittled down to him just walking through the door and giving his line. To this the young director is once again taken to one side and it is explained to him that "David isn't very good with thresholds". He also asks when, in the scene, there will be a close up of the sunglasses - in every scene.

While we would never begrudge a star a chance to indulge themselves and their adoring audience with a trademark move or catchphrase, nothing about David Caruso's demeanor or any evidence from the item above indicates to us that he's the type of guy who is in on the joke. Either way, we're just thankful that his painstaking dedication to his craft allows us all to continue 'avin a laff at his expense, Extras style.

And just because it’s funny, and of course relevant, here’s the YouTube video of endless Horatio Caine one liners. I’ve posted this on my blog before, but this is one of those times where you just can’t get too much of a “good” (snicker) thing.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

24 “Prequel” Movie Slated For Fall

Well, it appears that we may get a little taste of 24 before the year is out. Several sources are reporting that a 2-hour “24” prequel will be airing in the fall. Well, I am indifferent about it. Maybe it’s because the 24 season came and went without Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and the world as we knew it didn’t come to an end. Maybe it’s because there wasn’t any serious exciting buzz about the show BEFORE the writer’s strike started. Maybe it’s because I have become tired of Jack Bauer and company. I don’t know. Anyway, here’s the story from the Hollywood Reporter:

"Fox's "24" will be returning in the fall, after all.

The producers of the Emmy-winning series are developing a two-hour "prequel" to the upcoming seventh season.

The movie, designed to bridge the two-year gap between Seasons 6 and 7, is targeted to air in the fall, leading to the January return of the real-time drama. On Wednesday, "24" producers began securing the show's core cast members for the film.

"24" was one of the biggest casualties of the writers strike. Three days into the work stoppage, Fox decided against airing a partial season of the serialized drama with the eight episodes produced before and during the first weeks of the strike.

Each season of "24" is a closed arc that takes place in real time over a 24-hour period. The upcoming seventh season is set in Washington and features the first female U.S. president, played by Cherry Jones.

At the end of the writers strike, there were rumblings about a possible split of the seventh season into two parts to air in the fall and in midseason. But Fox was quick to put those rumors to rest, reiterating that the show's scheduling pattern will remain intact with a January launch.

The "24" writing team is back at work, with filming on the remaining episodes of the seventh season slated to begin in April. Missing from the writers room is the series co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow, who left at the end of the strike. Since the fifth season, "24" has been run by exec producer Howard Gordon.

Fox and 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the series with Imagine TV, declined comment Wednesday. "

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Amsterdam Hits, Canterbury’s Law Misses

OK, full disclosure right up front. I am becoming a real fan of Fox’s New Amsterdam, and I could never stand Julianna Margulies on ER.

Now that this is out of the way, here’s what I think of Fox’s Monday line up with Canterbury’s Law and New Amsterdam. They are polar opposites.

Julianna Margulies of Canterbury’s Law plays a defense attorney. Nothing special there. She’s as stiff as a board and seems like she’s reading her lines. New Amsterdam’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has an expressive face, flirts with the camera, and is very easy on the eyes. And this makes all the difference I whether I decide to continue to watch a show – or not.

In the case of Canterbury’s Law, the weak link is the star of the show, Julianna Margulies. Her acting skills seem not to have improved since her stint on ER, when she played nurse Carol Hathaway. He face seems to have one expression, even when she’s angry. It seems that her ability to emote comes out as either yelling, or speaking so quietly that she can hardly be heard. I’m still trying to figure out how the jury, much less the rest of the courtroom, could hear her questions to the victim’s father. No wonder he punched her in the face. I felt the same way.

As far as the plot of Canterbury’s Law, it seems to be another typical lawyer show, this time from the perspective of a defense attorney, of which many people don't carry high opinions. Of course, she lives up to the billing by getting her client to lie on the stand. No wonder people think lawyers are scum. I was hoping that she would have taken the high road but no, she gets the victim's father on the stand by getting her client to fabricate what he saw. Jack McCoy, she's not.

And her questioning of witnesses was laughable. She asks one detective, who has an obvious weight problem, what color shoes he was wearing that day, hoping to illustrate that if he couldn’t see his shoes, he couldn’t have seen the evidence he said he saw at his own feet. Well, the man had to pick out his shoes and put them on that day didn’t he, so wouldn't he know what they looked like? He could have easily answered her question and made her look like the fool she was. Now, I’m relatively fit and trim, but even I can spot something from a few feet away, just like this detective could have as well. I found Canterbury’s whole line of questioning throughout the show laughable and I am sure real defense attorneys who dared to watch this show are cringing in embarrassment. This is a show that you’ll want to miss.

As far as New Amsterdam, well, that’s a whole different story. The story is about a man who was made immortal 400 years ago, by a spell cast on him in return for saving the life of a Native American girl. He’ll continue to be immortal until he meets his one true love. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has an amazing presence. This man really knows how to play to the camera. His face is expressive – no matter what era he’s in – and you feel what he feels. But the real kicker in the most recent episode, “Soldier’s Heart,” is how he seemed so, well, overjoyed when he got that simple doctor’s exam from Dr. Dillane, who he believes to be is one true love. He was almost enraptured with it, and his face let it show. Not to mention the simple joy he seemed to get just when she took his pulse earlier in the show. (I had to check mine a few times, too.)

It doesn’t seem to matter what scene he’s in, you know exactly how he feels because it plays on his face and in his words. I think Fox has a real winner in Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and hopefully they will keep this show going long enough so it can build a fan base. Because we all know that if you get a solid, attractive, and compelling lead character, the viewers will come in droves. Did I forget to mention he is easy on the eyes? Oh yeah I did, sorry. The plots of the story and some of the cast are a little weak, but these things can be either easily fixed or even overlooked. This is one show that could be a hit of Fox gives it enough time to play out a bit. I hope they do.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Should TV News Feature Disturbing Videos?

I am so tired of hearing during a new cast, something along the lines of “warning: this video may be disturbing” or “we have the shocking video” or “if you have little children you may want to have them leave the room." Many times these warnings come on during the morning or late day newscasts, when people – and families – are sitting down to breakfast or dinner.

Of course, there is usually only a nanosecond between the time the warning is given, and the time the video begins, so there is little chance to change the channel or get anyone out of the room. Of course, if one happens to be eating, these videos can sometimes ruin an appetite.

Has the news stooped so low for content that we have to see something almost daily that shows sometimes the most horrific side of humanity or people at their very worst? I know that the news media sometimes has to struggle to fill their time with content, especially for the never ending, ubiquitous morning shows which run hours on end. Still, if it’s something that they have to warn me about, does it really warrant a place on the daytime news? Or, would it kill them to say, for example, “in one minute we will show a video that may be disturbing so if you wish you can change the channel.” Don’t hold your breath to hear that, because stations never want you to change the channel away from them.

My suggestion is that with many people having Internet access, point the viewer to the station’s or network’s web site if they want to view the video. Or, tell viewers they will only show it on their late (10 or 11 PM) newscasts, which would probably only mean that more adult eyes will be looking at it.

And please, some of these videos really have no place on the news to begin with because it’s questionable whether some of them are really news. Since many people are getting their news from the Internet and places like YouTube, I can see where the TV networks have to try to stay in that loop if they want to continue to attract viewers.

But please networks, if you read this, at least give the viewers a chance to choose whether they want to see the shocking video of the day. To do otherwise is, well, just disturbing.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Amsterdam Pilot: Long Life or Short Run?

I was really excited about Fox’s new show, New Amsterdam, which aired the pilot episode last night (March 4). Not just because there’s been little new offered lately, but because the premise of the show sounded like it had so many possibilities.

I was a little disappointed, but not to the point that I would not continue watching.

The problem is typical with pilot episodes. Depending on the nature of the show, there could be a lot of back story to set up. When you only have an hour, it can lead to a muddled start. I think this was the case for New Amsterdam. I also think that it caused the other story line – the homicide case – to come across as weak and thinly told.

In case you missed the show or you didn’t think it was clear, here’s what it’s about. In the mid 1600s, New Amsterdam (which later becomes the modern day city of New York) is a Dutch colony. Dutch soldier John Amsterdam (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), steps in front of a sword to save the life of a Native American girl during a massacre of her tribe. The girl rescues John, and casts a spell that makes him immortal. Well, it has some conditions; he’s only immortal until he finds his one true love. At the present time, he lives in Manhattan as a homicide detective, and has a new partner Eva Marquez (Zuleikha Robinson). His current friend, jazz club owner Omar (Stephen McKinley-Henderson), knows that Amsterdam cannot die

Now, if you didn’t know all of this ahead of time, the first 10 minutes or so of the show may have had you scratching your head. I think this was a terrible mistake. Had it been me, I would have spent the time up front – it wouldn’t have needed much time – to collect all the scenes from his incident as a soldier, and then moved on to the present day. It would have made a lot more sense and would have been a better set up for what was to come.

The show provided some great shots of New York, and especially enjoyable were the photos of Times Square taken over many years. I could see the show using this device a lot and it never getting tiring for me, since I really enjoy seeing the passage of time shown by photographs.

While working the homicide case, John suffers a heart attack while chasing a victim. Was it a heart attack or was it because he was in close proximity to his one true love (“The One”), who seemed to be Dr. Sara Dillane (Alexie Gilmore)? Amsterdam believes that it’s her presence which started the problem, and while working the case, he still has in the back of his mind finding this woman.

While working the case, he comes upon an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s who he knew in the past. Clearly he’s surprised that she’s still alive, and she seems to have a glimmer of recognition. Her question “Do I know you” and his answer “Not any more” was expected, maybe from being overplayed in previews. But, her subsequently running out to him, with a clearer understanding of why she felt he was familiar, was great. She appeared to everyone else that she was just having another episode. But John knows this is not the case.

Hopefully we’ll get to see more of John’s talents he’s amassed over the years. Lip reading is one I would have never thought to pick up if I had all that time.

The cast has some weak spots. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is a great fit, with a face that would fit various time periods. Despite being a little quiet, he’s got presence and can be serious, funny, and disarming at the same time. They could have done better with the role of his homicide partner Eva (Robinson), who just didn’t appear to do much better than just simply reading lines and going through the motions. His friend Omar (McKinley-Henderson) should work well, and his age could play well off of Amsterdam's experiences.

So, will this be a short run for New Amsterdam or will it have a long life? Right now I can’t be sure, but I will be tuning in this Thursday (March 6) when Fox airs another episode.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Law & Order Spoof Starring Gregory Itzin of 24

Do you like Law & Order? Do you like 24? If so, you'll enjoy this Law & Order spoof, from the web site “” It's called “Really Special Victims” and stars Gregory Itzin, of “24” fame. (He's no Sam Waterston, but he fits this role very well.)

The detectives are in search of the Law & Order sound – we know it as the doink-doink, of course. It has a funny twist at the end that you’ll enjoy, especially if you’re a 24 fan.

has a funny twist at the end that you’ll enjoy, especially if you’re a 24 fan.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.