Friday, March 20, 2009

Well I'm Watching - Kings, Better Off Ted, Lost, and More

Apparently I'm on a different wavelength than the rest of America, because I'm still loving Lost and Ugly Betty yet the numbers keep dropping. Meanwhile, I REALLY enjoyed new shows Kings and Better Off Ted yet they basically tanked in the ratings on their first outing. Seriously, where did everybody go?

Better Off Ted - Pilot - Ep. 101 - Series Premiere

In case you didn't watch, and according to the overnight ratings, no one really did, the show is like another unwatched show Andy Richter Controls the Universe without Andy Richter. Which means nothing to most of you but it should. It means it's a fast paced zippy absurd and outlandish workplace comedy that skewers corporate America. And now couldn't be a better time to make fun of the inanities of evil immoral corporations.

Luckily we have the lovable and moral Ted (Jay Harrington (Desperate Housewives, Couling US) guiding us through the offices and labs of Veridian Dynamics as the head of Research and Development. His boss is the humourless Veronica (Portia de Rossi, Arrested Development, Mrs. Ellen deGeneres), his loyal underlings in the lab are Lem (Malcolm Barrett) and Phil (Jonathan Slavin, Andy Richter Controls the Universe). Meanwhile, Linda (Andrea Anders (Joey) is in charge of testing the crazy products Veridian, via Veronica via Ted, comes up with, as it hints as a possible romantic interest. It's cute but the show is so fast that it doesn't let it become cloying.

Seriously, loved the show which like Portia's previous show Arrested Development, has the same absurdities that make it so funny and fresh, but this one, despite the crazy inventions and ideas thrown around Veridian, seems a bit more grounded and plausible. At this point, the pilot was so good that I'm giving it ****1/2 stars out of 5 already.

(More cast photos here)

Kings - Goliath - Ep. 101 - Series Premiere

Kings is a big and ambitious drama in a modernized version of David vs. Goliath with a New York City currently being controlled by King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane, Deadwood). The vision and scope of the show seems more cable fare (one would have expected this on HBO or AMC, not NBC) since it tries for lots of allegory and intelligent plotting, but at its heart, it's still one big ole melodrama. The show probably isn't as smart as it thinks it is but it still works and was far more entertaining than it originally looked. Plus, you know, the David they have to fight the powers that be is a cutie (Christopher Egan, Eragon).

Of course, it helps that Ian McShane plays the King. The KING! And Susanna Thompson (oh how I missed you!, from Once add Again) plays wife Rose Benjamin. They have two kids, Michelle (Allison Miller) and Jack (Sebastian Stan, above with Thompson). And then there's Dylan Baker (below with Thompson) as Benjamin Cross, one of the kings' men.

I'm loving the intrigue and all the different sides. At this point I'm giving the show ***1/2 out of 5 but it could easily lean towards a 4/5 but I'll where they take this show (if it lasts).

More on Ugly Betty, Lost, 30 Rock, The Office, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Gary Unmarried, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Bones, Castle, ER, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice:

Ugly Betty - The Sex Issue - Ep. 319

"What Is it with white people and Taye Diggs?" - Wilhelmina to Marc

So true. So true.

Sex is the issue (on the cover of Mode) and sex is the issue with everyone AT Mode. Betty wants it from Matt but Matt won't give it. Wilhelmina wants it from her hot new manny but he won't give it. And Hilda doesn't want it from Archie (Ralph Macchio looking better than ever these days) and, well, then his ex shows up and she does.

So many laugh out loud moments, though I think my favorite might have been the quickest throwaway one when Marc and Amanda walked by Betty in the background leaving her in the dust after she gets caught by Matt for following him!

So apparently Matt was a slut (um, I think I love him even MORE) which is why he pulls away from Betty (in a matter of speaking).

Lost - Namaste - Ep. 509

The time traveling is on pause and the Dharma LaFleur/Sawyer and Juliet and Milo reunite with new "recruits" Jack, Kate and Hurley. Loved the episode that amped up the explanations and returned back to the characters. It helped that my brain didn't hurt as much from all the time travel spinning anymore and we got to finally fill in some of the blanks.

Even better? Sawyer/LaFleur is now the thinker. WHA!? And poor Sayid! I wonder if Sawyer is still angry at Sayid for torturing him for the pills way back when they first crashed on the island (the 1st time).

Oh, and what's the deal with Sun and Frank seeing Jack's father at the Dharma camp?
Okay, it still hurts my brain but in a good way.

30 Rock - The Bubble - Ep. 315
The Office - New Boss - Ep. 518
The New Adventures of Old Christine - A Change of Heart/Pants - Ep. 418
Gary Unmarried - Gary Uses His Veto - Ep. 116
The Big Bang Theory - The Work Song Nanocluster - Ep. 218
How I Met Your Mother - The Front Porch - Ep. 417

Jon Hamm returned as perfect Drew on 30 Rock and it was Liz's job to break his beautiful bubble! And it was Kenneth's job to lure Tracy back to show after he quits (from Jack's horrible negotiating skills). Oh, and Jenna was getting her hair cut. Maybe because I was lured in by Hamm's beauty as well, but the guy needs to do comedy more. His blankness is the perfect foil to all of Liz's neuroses and watching Jon Hamm play bad tennis might have been trumped all the twists on Mad Men (and I loved that show).

Charles Minor (The Wire's Idris Elba) is the new boss at The Office. One that Michael can no longer sleep with (like Jan) or avoid (like Ryan). At least this time, when Michael becomes childishly embarrassing, the entire office looks on in horror. And considering all the baffoonery, one wonders how Michael has managed to stay on for 15 years at the job. Still, it was probably a bigger shock that he quit and wasn't fired. Loved the new twist.

Loved Jim's James Bond look. And that he was supremely embarrassed by his monkey suit on the first day with the new boss.

Old Christine is suckered into helping Marly and Lindsay as they're having their babies, which of course means she ropes in Richard and Matthew. Gary tries to find Allison a new boyfriend. You know? Neither are exactly the most sophisticated comedies (then again, neither is 30 Rock or The Office if you really think about it) but I'm still enjoying them. Richard and Matthew are ALWAYS funny and the snarky Marly and Lindsay are perfect in small doses. Meanwhile, the two kids (and the funniest part of Gary) weren't really on this week but nonetheless, I still laughed at Gary and Allison's antics.

Now is it me or has The Big Bang Theory become way more clever than we ever would have imagined? They are on a roll this season and I can't stop laughing. I was surprised at how far they took Penny's little flower cluster clips project. The plot seemed simple enough, and just putting Sheldon with Penny to help with her was enough, but to add Raj, Howard and Leonard, a website, an order from a gay group, and Sheldon on coffee? Hysterical!

I kept having to rewind How I Met Your Mother not because I wanted to catch the little details on the background, but because I was CONCENTRATING on the TV in the background where Robin was saving lives, delivering babies and putting out fires on her morning show. So I missed the huge fight between Ted and Lily when he found out Lily had sabotaged all his relationships (which is pretty funny in the first place). At least Prepon is gone.

Bones - The Salt in the Wounds - Ep. 417
Castle - Nanny McDead - Ep. 102

Spencer Breslin (now grown up as a teenager and looking a bit like Michael Cera), Monique Coleman (High School Musical) and Amy Pietz (who should have WON an Emmy for Aliens in America) all guest this week! Kudos to the casting agent!

This week, the new "Zack" is Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat) who is Muslim and takes 5 prayer breaks, much to Bones' annoyance. Angela breaks up with Roxy, and sleeps with Hodgins. Sweets tells Angela she must stop the sex for 6 months. She and Matt should really get together.

Love the characters. So cute. Especially when Sweets and Angela had to pretend to be married as they investigate a chiropractor.

Sadly, the second episode of Castle only proved further that the best part of the show is simply Nathan Fillion and the rest of it around him is filler. I had far less fun this second go around and found myself zoning out anytime Fillion wasn't on screen. And of course, THIS new show is getting pretty darned good ratings, thanks to its lead in DWTS.

ER - Shifting Equilibrium - Ep. 1520
Grey's Anatomy - Stand By Me - Ep. 517
Private Practice - What Women Want - Ep. 218

In the 3rd last ER, it's time to send off Neela, who I thought was the new heart and soul of the show and sort of a new Carter for the second half of the series. Love Parminder Nagra. And Abby makes a cameo and after a long goodbye, Neela returns to Ray. RAY! (Shane West, another alum from Once and Again). I haven't been really following the show lately and don't even know why Ray left (I actually thought he died), but I still loved it. And I also loved the new batch like Andrew (Julian Morris) who would have been great for the next batch if the show were to have continued.

Grey's Anatomy isn't spectacular anymore but at least it's back on track and mildly entertaining again. Plus Emily Kuroda!!! Mrs. Kim!!! (Gilmore Girls) and Larry Sullivan (Leon on The Secret Life of The American Teenager, CSI, The Trip) as patients! Despite the fact that Larry is a total hottie, he played Dave, a disfigured man waiting for a face transplant, yet I love that his voice is so spirited that he definitely emanates a good man.

I was really taken with Dave's story and the parallels with Izzie and her cancer, with Christina fighting vehemontly for her sake. I even was quit taken with Derek's showdown with Richard (and the "captured" Owen and Callie who end up drinking along with the depressed Derek.

Apparently I watched Private Practice but I think I tuned out half of it. Except when Amanda Foreman showed up as a patient, and when Dell's baby mommy disappeared. Oh, and Josh Hopkins. That's probably when I started my daze and went off in my own fantasy world...

Vance at


Esther said...

I was excited that Liz and Drew ate at Barney Greengrass. I love it when I see places I've been on tv or in the movies!

RJ said...

I just watched the pilot of Kings on Hulu, and, I have to say, I REALLY dug it. Like, this show really needed to be on cable b/c I think it would have stood a better chance.

It is well-written, has a great cast, and it really looks phenomenal visually. Plus, we have a gay character whose most interesting trait ISN'T that he's gay which is a plus for me.

I really dig out. I dont know how long it can last so I'm just hoping it gets a full season so I can buy or rent it all after NBC cancels it after 5 episodes or something. (OR MAYBE PEOPLE WILL START WATCHING IT KNOCK ON WOOD)

RJ said...

Good news. Just read an interview with Kings' creator, and apparently they've already filmed the entire season, so we will have it regardless.

Vance said...

Oh, good to know about Kings. At least we know we won't be left high and dry (are you listening ABC re: Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone?).