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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best of Television 2008

The writer's strike may have screwed up the first half of the year, but there was still a lot of great stuff to watch on TV. Here's my picks for the Best of Television for 2008

(With the ranking from the two previous lists (Best of TV - Fall 2007/ Winter 2008 Season, Best of TV 2007) in parenthesis.)

1. Friday Night Lights - NBC/DirecTV (3, 1)

They may have taken a misstep in Season 2 but the second half (that aired at the beginning of 2008) was great and all I can say about Season 3 (currently only showing on DirecTV), especially for those of you who will finally get to see it on NBC in the new year, is that it is PERFECT. I can't wait for y'all to see it because the show has never been better, never been more emotional, more fascinating, more thrilling and more soulful. The continuing growth of the characters living in small town Dillon, Texas, along with Tami's new career, a new star player and his overbearing father, the goodbyes to Smash and Jason Street (make sure you have hankies in hand to mop up the tears), Tim Riggins new hidden maturity, Tyra's attempts to redirect her life, Landry's new band, Matt Saracen's new homelife, Buddy Garrity's new situation, Lyla's future at stake and much much more, is all just astoundingly astute and amazingly profound. All the intertwining lives and the little details of regular life are what make this show the most affecting show on TV.


2. Lost - ABC (1, 4)

Honestly, at this point, I have NO IDEA what's going on. But boy it sure is a fun and emotional roller coaster ride. What makes this big puzzle mystery work is that at its core, it is still about the lives and humanity of the people trapped in this netherworld.


3. Pushing Daisies - ABC (2, 2)

From the zippy dialogue, the cast that can pull it off with charm to spare, within sets and camerawork that dazzles the eyes, all the senses are working on full drive when you're watching Pushing Daisies that you can almost smell that pie baking in the oven. The mysteries are constantly surprising, the sight gags hilarious, the lines are a hoot and yet it's still romantic to boot.


4. Gavin & Stacey - BBCAmerica (New)

A romantic comedy set in a dryly depressing reality of British life. The sarcasm and the realism balance out the fantasy like romance in a show that shouldn't work but totally does. Much of the credit goes to the charming leads and hilarious sidekicks (who in real life wrote the script) and some crazy (yet strangely realistic) family characters that surround Gavin and Stacey as they make their whirlwind romance move through the paces at lightning speed.


5. 30 Rock - NBC (4, 5)

No amount of crazy can help describe how crazy 30 Rock has become and how funny it all is. The ensemble is fantastic and Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin have become an unlikely great comic duo and all the crazy stunt guest star casting has only helped enhance their rapport.


6. Mad Men - AMC (5, 10)

A deceptively intricate series that slowly reveals the layers beneath all those 1950's styles. While the men may rule the office, the women have become the heart of the show, with Peggy slowly inserting herself into the boys club, Joan (who would be ruling the office if it were present day) trying to keep her dignity and image up, and Betty finding out that the perfect picket-fenced life at home isn't all that perfect, and it all slowly pulls in the shattering effects society has managed to twist their way on everyones lives.


7. Ugly Betty - ABC (9, 3)

Sometimes the story threads meander and get too loose and they seem to throw outrageous ideas out to see what sticks, but when it does, the show sparkles with a vividly colourful energy much to the credit of some zany one-liners and a fab cast that can deliver them with pizzazz (and sometimes with jazz hands).


8. Privileged - The CW (New)

Cute and charming can usually only buy you so much respect but this show manages to outcharm everything else with a darling cast (led by the superadorablycharming JoAnna Garcia) that mixes frothy soapy stories with moral lessons that avoids condescension and banality. It may look silly and vapid on the outside, but it's deceptively clever and witty and even with all the hot cast members around, strangely wholesome in a heartwarming way.


9. So You Think You Can Dance/So You Think You Can Dance Canada - FOX/CTV (8, 11/New)

New choreographers on the American version (especially Napoleon and Tabitha) and some great guest judges/choreographers (Adam Shaknman, Andy Blankenbuehler) managed to keep things interesting as the level of dancing reached a plateau that it became hard to pick a favorite from the talented bunch. The Canadian edition surprised as well with an amazing array of dancers that were so strong that every cut was painful.


10. Chuck - NBC (12, 9)

A smart alec take on the spy show that feels fresh and fun. The spy games always have neat twists and turns, the jokes are spot on (including some great visuals including my favorite of the year: the new fro-yo store "Orange Orange") but they keep the emotions somewhere within it all so that we actually care about the characters and care about each missions outcome.


11. Gossip Girl - The CW (17, 18)

Never has watching pretty people doing very bad things felt oh so good. And in fancy smashing outfits no less!


12. Aliens in America - The CW (11, 9)

Sadly no one really bit into this biting satire of both American politics and American society and the truly underrated cast seriously milked the comedic gold from its witty and intelligent scripts. Here's hoping the show finds itself a new life on DVD and people get to discover this gem that only lasted one hilarious season.


13. Desperate Housewives - ABC (18, 20)

Even before jumping ahead 5 years, the show was getting back on track with the balance between suburban satire, black comedy and soap opera antics but the leap ahead gave the show a clean slate to play with the desperate women of Wisteria Lane and gave us a fresh new look on a show that once seemed destined for the dustbin. Maybe a little housecleaning IS all that is needed and this show proved it can be done!


14. Top Chef/Project Runway - Bravo (Not ranked/13, 14)

The drama never ends when creative types compete to be the "best" in a qualitative field. While the end of the "Christian" season might have been the end of Project Runway's high, Kenley-withstanding, I liked the recent season that may have had less "characters" but still offered up actual practical creative people to root for (go Leanne!). Meanwhile, I finally fell in love with Top Chef.


15. Bones - FOX (15, 15)

The Gorgamon twist that was rushed through because of the shortened writers-strike-affected season didn't totally gel but it didn't matter because despite the over-arching mystery that fell apart and the individual mysterious in the procedural series, the ongoing moments with the cast of characters we've grown to love on the show is what keeps this show humorous and humane.


16. The Office - NBC (14, 10)

Inconsistent at times, but when it started to come back together at the end of last season and the addition of guest Amy Ryan this season, the series was on a high again. They need to be careful with some of the crazier more unbelievable antics and remind us again that this is just a typical office in middle America so that we can relate again to our favorite office folks but at its core, they've built up enough of a base for us to love that even when the show goes off kilter, it still can be pretty funny.

17. Burn Notice - USA (7, New)

While season 2 didn't seem to have the cohesion the first season did, as Michael looked further into his own burn notice, the general light vacationy feel and sarcastic overtones makes this the sunnier male version of Veronica Mars.


18. The New Adventures of Old Christine - CBS (Not ranked, 17)

And they said the four-camera sitcom was dead. Not when they cast like this show! And not when they write funny scripts like this show!


19. Weeds - Showtime (6, 6)

The Botwins moved to the beach and got in some even bigger trouble. While the series felt a little dry at first (with no help from guest Albert Brooks who bogged down the light yet edgy feel to the show), they recovered with some help from a Mexican kingpin and his really long tunnel (what did you think I was going to say?).


20. The Big Bang Theory - CBS (Not ranked)

It may be the Sheldon show but at some point, his rapport with Penny gave the show its biggest boost in coalescing into an actual worthy comedy series. The fact that Howard and Rajesh seemed to become sidekicks of their own, and that Sheldon and Penny seemed to move onto greener pastures as friends are all bonuses.

Almost on the list (in no particular order): How I Met Your Mother, Greek, My Boys, Entourage, The Amazing Race, Everybody Hates Chris, Worst Week, The Mentalist, Eli Stone, Survivor, Men In Trees, Supernatural, Brothers & Sisters, Corner Gas

Best Mini-Series or Made for TV Movie: Britz

Best TV Mini-Series or Made for TV Movie That Wasn't Actually On TV: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

I Know I Should Have Be Watching (My bad): Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Skins, Breaking Bad, The Wire, The Tudors, Big Love, Leverage, True Blood, The Paper, Architecture School

New Shows That Didn't Quite Hit My High Expectations At First But Was Slowly Building Its Way There:
Eli Stone
Fringe


New Shows That Turned Out Better Than Expected:
Privileged
The Mentalist
Worst Week
The Secret Life of An American Teenager
The Secret Diary of a Call Girl
Raising the Bar
Miss/Guided


New Shows That Turned Out Worse Than Expected:
My Own Worst Enemy
90210
Lipstick Jungle
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
The Ex-List
Welcome to the Captain
Swingtown


New Shows That Land Right In The Middle (Shows I like but sometimes I don't know why):
The Starter Wife
Kath & Kim
Gary: Unmarried
Rita Rocks
Cashmere Mafia
Life on Mars
Britannia High
Valentine
East Money
Carpoolers
High School Musical: Get In The Picture
Flashpoint
Do Not Disturb


New Shows I Didn't Even Bother Giving A Chance:
Knight Rider
Stylista
Crusoe
quarterlife


Shows That Deserved Better Deaths:
Men In Trees
Aliens In America
Miss/Guided
Back To You
Notes From The Underbelly


Shows That Might Deserve Death:
Heroes
Dancing with the Stars
Private Practice
America's Next Top Model
Prison Break


Shows That Don't Deserve Death But Have Seen Better Days:
ER
House
Grey's Anatomy
Samantha Who?
Scrubs
My Name Is Earl



Best of 2008 Lists:
Best of Music 2008
Best of Television 2008
Best of Stage 2008
Best of Movies 2008
Best of 2008 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '07 - Winter '08 List

Previous Best-of Lists:
Best of 2007 Lists:
Best of Music 2007
Best of Television 2007
Best of Movies 2007
Best of Stage 2007
Best of 2007 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '06 - Winter '07 List

Best of 2006 Lists:
Best of Music 2006
Best of Television 2006
Best of Movies 2006
Best of 2006
Best of Television Fall '05 - Winter '06 List

Best of 2005 Lists:
Best of Television 2005
Best of Movies 2005


More After the Jump...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best of Music 2008

It was not a great year for music for me. For one, my iPod battery was slowly dying and would last just long enough for me to get to the weights, do a few and then when I was just about to cop out anyways, it would die and I would run back to the Elyptical machine where I could plug in to watch music videos (if I could even find them on TV anymore and if I did, it was always the same 10 videos on repeat). But it was not a great year for Music Videos either. Especially when I remember more about "Single Ladies" from Shane Mercado and Justin Timberlake than the actual video itself.

Now music wasn't terrible this year. I hate when people keep talking about the descending quality in music every year. Uh, there was always crap music every year. But I will admit that I thought there were a lot of good and/or catchy songs this year but very few stood out amongst the rest to become great.

Now I admit, I have very questionable taste in music. I fully admit that I love cheesy sh!t but usually I'll mix in enough "critically acclaimed" stuff with my favorite cheese on my lists and I'll admit that over that past few years, they are leaning towards pop more and more and this year, I had a hard time finding anything that was actually "best", so this list might be better labeled as my Favorite Music of 2008. And what kind of a year is it when Miley F#$ken Cyrus makes it onto my list? Between Miley, The Jonas Brothers and Britney Spears, it's beginning to look a lot like the fricken Mickey Mouse Club. Again.

Also, the album is dead. There was not a single album that I loved as a whole this year. Granted, I didn't give many more than one chance to impress me before I moved on or played back the few songs that stood out. Also, some of the picks below are technically from 2007 but I'm allowing it because they didn't get famous until 2008.

So here's my picks for the Best of Music for 2008 (aka, my favorites for the year) (with videos at the end of the post):

1. "Leavin'" - Jesse McCartney - (Single)

That beat. I can't get that beat out of my head. It's simply an infectiously cool pop song with some odd rhythms and beats that somehow all works. From the moment I first heard it, it was on repeat for me and earned the highest play count on my computer and my iPod (when it was alive) and I instantly turn up the volume of the radio when I hear it being played and I bop along (with full head movements) like an epileptic on crazy pills.

2. "Human" - The Killers - (Single)

This made me love The Killers again with a haunting yet catchy single that felt both intimate and yet bigger than life.

3. "American Boy" - Estelle feat. Kanye West - (Single)

Clever lyrics. Clever rhythm. Estelle's vocals are beautifully pure and Kanye West is self-depreciatingly amusing.

4. David vs. David - David Archuleta vs. David Cook in American Idol and "Crush" and "Angel" vs. "The Time of My Life" and "Light On" - (The battle on Idol and the subsequent Singles battle)

The battle between early favorite kewpie Archuleta and the slow-build "rocker" Cook gave us consistently great song battles and the final bout with their singles produced two surprisingly great (and very catchy) singles. Cheesorama? Definitely, but both are very fun to sing to at the top of your lungs when you're driving in the car. (Yah, that was me).

5. "Beating My Heart", "You Can Never Go Back" - Jon McLaughlin - (Single and song)

If there was one album I liked the most this year, it was OK Now, and I don't even think it should be the BEST album (so there's GOT to be something even better?), but that being said, Jon McLaughlin surprised me this year with an eclectic album that broke away from his mellow tendencies and his ballad specialties with some clever beats that mixed in some old funk with his handsome vocals.

6. "Untouched" - The Veronicas - (Single)

The twin girls have done it again with another super catchy song that has me tapping to their joyously simple single. Hopefully this might actually break them out and get them noticed and they will no longer be untouched. No other band can get away with "la la la la" and make it sound cool and clever.

7. "Chasing Pavements" - Adele - (Single)

A loud belty torchy song sung in a quiet folksy manner which makes it far more interesting. It sounds grand without a lot of extraneous hoopla.

8. "See You Again" - Miley Cyrus - (Singles)

A new dance hall queen might have been born (and who would have thought Billy Ray would have spawned it) with this upbeat and saucy ditty.

9. "Viva la Vida" - Coldplay - (Single)

The orchestra, the beat, the violins, Chris Martin's unflourished singing. It all adds perfectly into a song that gets me excited about life.

10. "Burnin' Up" - The Jonas Brothers - (Single)

Mock all you want but these boys know how to tune up a rockin' good pop song by keeping it simple and to the point.

Songs that benefited from being used on So You Think You Can Dance and/or So You Think You Can Dance Canada:
"Closer" - Ne-yo
"No Air" - Jordan Sparks and Ne-yo
"Forever" - Chris Brown
"Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
"Shake It" - Metro Station
"Dangerous" - Kardinal Offishall feat. Akon
"Womanizer" - Britney Spears
"When I Grow Up"—The Pussycat Dolls

Great debuts:
Josh Hoge - Everything She Was
Lady Antebellum - Lady Antebellum
The Midway State - Holes
Nathan Angelo - Through Playing Me
The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
Same Difference - Pop

Selections that are really continued from my picks from 2008:
Josh Turner's "Another Try" feat. Trisha Yearwood from his album Everything Is Fine which produced last year's pick "Firecracker"
Anything Rihanna touched. "Disturbia", "Rihab", " "If I Never See Your Face Again" with Maroon 5, "Live Your Life" with T.I.

The Best of Music 2008 - In Video Format:

1. "Leavin'" - Jesse McCartney:


2. "Human" - The Killers:


3. "American Boy" - Estelle feat. Kanye West:


4. David vs. David - David Archuleta vs. David Cook in American Idol and "Crush" and "Angel" vs. "The Time of My Life" and "Light On" - (The battle on Idol and the subsequent Singles battle)
David Archuleta:


David Cook:



5. "Beating My Heart", "You Can Never Go Back" - Jon McLaughlin:



6. "Untouched" - The Veronicas:


7. "Chasing Pavements" - Adele:


8. "See You Again" - Miley Cyrus:


9. "Viva la Vida" - Coldplay:


10. "Burnin' Up" - The Jonas Brothers:



Best of 2008 Lists:
Best of Music 2008
Best of Television 2008
Best of Stage 2008
Best of Movies 2008
Best of 2008 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '07 - Winter '08 List

Previous Best-of Lists:
Best of 2007 Lists:
Best of Music 2007
Best of Television 2007
Best of Movies 2007
Best of Stage 2007
Best of 2007 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '06 - Winter '07 List

Best of 2006 Lists:
Best of Music 2006
Best of Television 2006
Best of Movies 2006
Best of 2006
Best of Television Fall '05 - Winter '06 List

Best of 2005 Lists:
Best of Television 2005
Best of Movies 2005


More After the Jump...

Monday, December 29, 2008

And The Economy Hits The Privileged

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Michael Cassidy is no longer Privileged (which is my favorite new show of this latest TV season).

I know he's not a famous actor on a big show but I'm truly shocked and saddened and hurt. Of all the news stories, this is the one that annoys me the most.

He was GREAT on the show and his chemistry with lead JoAnna Garcia was fantastic.

And I'm in the belief that Michael Cassidy is one of those actors that should ALWAYS be on TV. ALWAYS.

I know the show could never really get Cassidy's Charlie character together with Garcia's Megan for a long long while and Megan still has other hotties to select from (including neighbour Will (Brian Halisay)) but Cassidy just has this certain sparkle about him that always makes him a welcome presence on camera. Garcia has a similar sparkle so having them two on the same show was great!

Oh well, let's hope the show makes it to season 2 so that Charlie can be brought back.


More After the Jump...

Boy A - In A Perfect World, A Is for Academy Awards - Movie Review

I'm trying to squeeze in as many 2008 movies (both on DVD and in cinemas) before the end of the year so that I can compile my Best of Movies 2008 list (I live for these lists, but I may postpone it a bit since I doubt I'll still have time for everything on my list this week) but while the summer blockbusters (The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Wall*E) are still looking strong, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons didn't live up to its hype and reviews (my review in one sentence? Really well made film with an excellent Brad Pitt and Taraji P. Hensen creating the most interesting bond and section of an episodic movie whose whole isn't quite the sum of its parts. B+), and at this point my Oscar vote is still going to go with Slumdog Millionaire just slightly over Milk for the win, I think the best movie released in North America in 2008 is actually something most of you have probably never even heard of. This:

Boy A, directed by John Crowley and starring no one you've ever heard of, is a small British film about a guy named Jack who is being re-introduced into the world after being taken away from society. I'll leave it at that, since it's one of those gems where it should be viewed on a clean slate.

Andrew Garfield plays Jack and is a revelation. Enough apparently to win the Best Actor award at the Bafta's this past year (the British Oscars). His performance is simply beautifully rendered with a fragility and fracturedness that keeps layering the boy into a 3 dimensional character without display any ounce of "performance" to it. Peter Mullan as his guardian, and Katie Lyons as Michelle (above), his co-worker, turn in simple but intricate performances.

The story is wonderful and haunting at the same time, hopeful yet disturbing and the film slowly builds to a quiet but stunning climax. Bits and pieces are slowly revealed while we watch Jack trying to integrate back into normal British life, where watching him go out nightclubbing becomes thrilling and nerve-racking. You root for the genial boy-man as he flirts with the office girl, and you become horrified at circumstances around the boy's life.

Boy A = A

The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons = B+

Although I did rather enjoy the clever poster:


More After the Jump...

Actors Wanted, And If You're Hot, I'll Be Waiting On The Couch

For the poor suckers that have to go back to work today, well, at least you have a job. For the rest of us, I swear I'll start blogging again as soon as I have time between all the holiday parties, seeing everyone visiting from out of town, my end-of-year-movie-catch-ups and eating way too much deserts. And isn't it nice to sleep in for once?

In the meantime, if you're an actor in New York and reading my blog. Well first of all, hello! And if I've ever slagged you in any way, you know it's in loving jest, right? hehe... he... er... ugh...

Anyways, ModFab is looking for some actors to be part of his staged reading of a show in early February '09 with a few rehearsals in late January. You can read about the details and his breakdown here or below. So go and be fabulous for ModFab and his company MadShag Performance Group and if you become famous, don't forget about me in the Oscar speech (or with the invites to any hot party).

Calling all actors! MadShag is seeking talented performing artists for its upcoming semi-staged reading of GILGAMESH, a multi-artist collaborative adaptation. Currently accepting headshots/resumes for:

MALE ROLES (1) - 25-50 yrs old, 5' 11" or taller, all races/types, voice and/or physical movement training a plus

FEMALE ROLE (1) - 25-35 yrs old, all races/types, voice and/or physical movement training a plus

FEMALE ROLE (1) - 35-65 yrs old, all races/types, voice and/or physical movement training a plus

REQUIRED AVAILABILITY:
Saturday, January 24, 2009 - 9AM-2PM (Read-Through/Rehearsal)
Friday, February 6, 2009 - 5PM-11PM (Rehearsal)
Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 1PM-10PM (Rehearsal/Reading)

Available and interested actors should email headshot and current resume ASAP to madshag@gmail.com. Auditions will take place in early January for selected applicants. Rehearsals and reading have no financial remuneration, but offer an excellent opportunity to work with eleven (eleven!) hot new playwrights and be seen by producers, artistic directors, and the NYC theatrical industry.


More After the Jump...

Friday, December 26, 2008

McAvoy Movie Marathon

Not even realizing it, I sort of did a mini-marathon of James McAvoy movies over the past few days, finally seeing the crushworthy man in Wanted, Becoming Jane and Starter for 10.

Sigh...

Don't mind me. I'm just going to go into my dreamworld right now. And I must have consciously subconsciously rented all three movies to satisfy my yearning.

I seriously need to figure out how I'm going to get back to London to see him in this.

Plus why didn't anybody tell me Mamma Mia/The History Boys/The Duchess' Dominic Cooper, Gavin & Stacey/The History Boys James Corden and Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) was in Starter for 10? Granted the movie wasn't what I thought it would be and it wasn't as good as I had hoped, but still! Cooper! Corden! Hall! and McAvoy!

As for Wanted, I mean, I had a feeling they were going to do a sequel but really? how? At least McAvoy is still attached. And considering Angelina Jolie's part was smaller than the way it was advertised, it won't matter that she's not in the sequel.

Despite how squeamish I get at the sight of blood and how gross some parts were, I loved the outrageousness of Wanted a lot more than I think people would have expected me to. I loved the silly details of the woven code reader or the ridiculous train accident. It's kinda like Shoot 'Em Up without the hypocritical preaching.

And McAvoy as an action hero is awesome. Especially when he also does period pieces like Becoming Jane which was cute but not as good as I had hoped. I think I preferred The Jane Austen Book Club (which I just saw this past week as well). Both movies become a bit too rambly while they try to mimic Jane Austen books but while I love Anne Hathaway, I think the movie got too slow at times. Maybe they needed more shots of James McAvoy.

The Jane Austen Book Club had enough assortment of characters with the lovely Maria Bello playing in a soft romantic comedy against Hugh Dancy (equally as hot to James McAvoy. What's with these slightly shaggy haired Brunette Brits?!!). Plus Buffy's Marc Blucas! With Emily Blunt!?! Go Blucas! Plus Kevin Zegers and Maggie Grace looking very different from her Lost days. Cute and maybe a bit too much storyline but Dancy is a delight as is the entire strong female cast. If I can't snag McAvoy, Dancy will definitely do.

Wanted = B+
Becoming Jane = B
The Jane Austen Book Club = B
Starter for 10 = B


More After the Jump...

The Commonwealth Curse or Blond Things To Box Up For Me That I Get To Untie Later

So it's Boxing Day in Canada and Britain (and some other Commonwealth countries). (For Americans, it's The Day-After-Christmas-Day-Sales-Day.) Maybe it's a commonwealth thing but sometimes I just love me some bad British TV and music.

After getting sucked into the first episode in London, I just managed to finish watching the Britannia High series from ITV in Britain and while it's doubtful there will be another season with its low ratings and cheesy Fame meets Disney morning shows (Hannah Montana, Suite Life, Wizards of Waverly Place (probably my new favorite kids show)), I was still addicted despite inconsistent characters and unbelievable plot development (if you can call it that). But hey, it's a musical show in the British vein of S Club 7 so I was in! Plus Adam Garcia plays a hot teacher. Yum! (I will still always regret not watching the not-great-but-apparently-great-dancing-with-hot-lead-newcomer-Adam-Garcia-in-Saturday Night Fever-the-musical in London when I lived there).

Matthew James Thomas plays Jez and in his episode (103), his gay character sings three songs "Proud", "Wake Up" and "I Am Who I Am". You would think it's all about coming out. Strangely it isn't and we sort of discover that his character is already open and out. He's singing those songs because he wants his father to accept him as an ARTIST and not a business man (his father is already okay with him being gay). Hmm... that's a new one. Strangely refreshing and Matthew Thomas is cute as a button as Jez. Sadly, in real life, he's dating costar Sapphire Elia (who plays queen bitch Claudine).

"Proud" is actually pretty good but it sounds like such the Gary Barlow song (oh look, Gary Barlow from Take That is in charge of music on the show! Which explains why everything sounds like mediocre boy-band music that I love just because I'm that shallow):



"Wake Up" is also the closing credits number:


Plus for you Skins fans, Mitch Hewer (Maxxie) is in Britannia High. His hair is more natural looking here, but I think he looks far better as Maxxie (with a NSFW photo after the jump). Here's an awesome promo from back during Season 2 with Mitch Hewer as Maxxie and two others dancing to Hofesh Shechter's choreography.

Hmm... Mitch Hewer with the swoopy blond look and Matthew Thomas with the swoopy blond look. I guess I'm just into the swoopy blond look. Hey, I admitted I was shallow.

Here's Mitch Hewer's looking VERY different as Danny in Britannia High doing a dance:


Below is Mitch Hewer's Cosmo shoot for charity when he was still doing the aptly named Skins (NSFW):


More After the Jump...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! From My Foam To Yours



With thanks to Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Robin, Scooter, Statler, Waldorf, Rowlf, Animal, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot, and John Denver.


More After the Jump...

Merry Christmas Actually!



With thanks to Olivia Olson and the cast of Love Actually


More After the Jump...

Merry Christmas! Cause Baby It's Cold Outside!



With thanks to Zoey Deschanel and Will Farrell from Elf!


More After the Jump...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Your Mother Does The Jonas Brothers

... and the winner of the favorite Entertainment Weekly How I Met Your Mother Pop Culture Moment of 2008 photo was:

The Jonas Brothers! Recreated by Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders with 46% of the vote!

Man, this makes me laugh everytime! Each and every face has a hilarious expression on it.

Michael Phelps at the Olympics had 35% of the vote.
The Indiana Jones movie had 7%
The Sex and the City had 6%
The Vice-Presidential Debates had only 3%.


More After the Jump...

Peace on Earth Somewhere

I'm still on my WSS high so excuse my little current obsession but I thought this might be fitting as we go into the holidays:



Not the current cast heading to Broadway but no small potatoes. Josh Groban And Charlote Church singing "Somewhere". I'm guessing from the intro, this was before Josh was famous (since he was 20 and got very little audience response).

Now I'm trying to find a good clip of the preceding Dream Ballet but so far nothing I can find is as good as the one on stage at the National Theatre in DC right now. (Though I would think some ballet companies would have good ones but can't find any clips yet).


More After the Jump...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

Gavin & Stacey will have a season 3! Oh Happy Day! On top of the Christmas Special that is coming (though no idea when it'll make it to this side of the Atlantic)!

Seriously, one of the most joyous, hilarious, strangely sarcastically bitter yet sweet romantic comedy shows to exist. One that shouldn't work but totally does.

Gavin & Stacey is on BBC3 in the UK and BBCAmerica on Tuesdays at 8:40pm.


More After the Jump...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Britzish Invasion

Holy Sheet. Just finished watching the Channel 4 (UK) two-part mini-series Britz (that was shown on BBC America in the states (and still available free on demand) and TVO in Ontario).

It's about two British-born Muslim siblings and their two very different paths in life. Part one follows brother Sohail (a mesmerizing and very hot Riz Ahmed) while part two follows sister Rasima (a lovely and delicate Manjinder Virk). I'll just leave it at that. But stay on until the end. I literally gasped out loud with a yelp.

(Some small spoilers ahead in my short discussion so read if you've watched and if you haven't seen it yet, try to seek it out if you can)

I noticed Riz Ahmed is in the new movie Rage with Jude Law, Judy Dench and a bunch of other stars, so it seems that someone has noticed and plucked him out for some bigger movies! He's totally mesmerizing in Britz and the first half plays like a sort of British Alias (well, or MI-5 I guess since it's about ... MI-5) but since a lot of the advertisements already spoil the final twist, I kind of knew what to expect.

The second part that follows sister Nasima and her slow involvement into the terrorist world is terrifying and real and at some points, I could totally understand her frustration and I loved that the series showed both sides of the war on "terrorism" or as many Muslims see it, as the Western world's war on Islam. Or as Riz sees it, a war to control the oil reserves using "terrorism" and "Islam" as an excuse. Truly disturbing and fascinating and as like many great British movies and series, they really get an inside look at "regular" folks dealing with an incredible situation.


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