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24's Smart Move

After weeks of beating up on 24, I felt I should weigh in briefly after this week’s above-par episode, if only to shower praise on someone who was so robbed last year at the Emmys, when the show and Kiefer Sutherland finally won their long-deserved trophies. I’m talking, of course, about the ever-fabulous Jean Smart, as former first lady Martha Logan. (How could they have given the Emmy to Blythe Danner over Smart—or, for that matter, over this year’s awards queen, Chandra Wilson? Aren’t the Emmys just sad?)Back to Martha. Now institutionalized in a cozy bungalow and under the watchful and affectionate care of Secret Service Agent Extraordinaire Aaron Pierce, Martha (as played so wittily by Smart) was somehow both ravaged and ravishing as she coolly regarded what remained of her ex-husband the disgraced ex-president.They may have telegraphed the kitchen knife a few too many times as Martha began melting down under the stress of the visit and the delayed phon... read more

Marty's Back! Wayne Wilcox Talks about Being the Gilmore Girls Nice Guy

Gilmore Girls' Wayne Wilcox

Wayne Wilcox is living his dream: acting on stage and on camera, and for all those Gilmore Girls fans, he's as surprised as you are about his return to the popular CW series (Tuesdays at 8 pm/ET). Introduced years ago as Rory's shy Yale classmate Marty, Wilcox is back to "heat" things up and make young Ms. Gilmore think twice. TVGuide.com caught the busy actor during some downtime to talk about Marty's return and the new play that he "had to do." Plus, you won't believe how he landed on Gilmore Girls in the first place! Read on for the goods. TVGuide.com: Are you ready for Thanksgiving?Wayne Wilcox: Yeah, I just cleaned my stove today, actually. TVGuide.com: Are you celebrating at your place?Wilcox: No, but I am making the turkey and a couple pies. TVGuide.com read more

Who are these people who pick ...

Question: Who are these people who pick the Emmy winners? Do they live on another planet? To have Lost, the most popular drama last year, totally unrecognized this year is unbelievable! Except for 24 winning for best drama, The Office winning best comedy, Conan O'Brien's opening segment poking fun at the Academy for dissing Lost, and the "Trouble" musical number, the show was a B-O-R-E. Answer: You will notice I didn't lead this column with Emmy reaction (if you want to weigh in, visit my Dispatch blog from earlier this week), and I'm only including this because I was so amused by Joyce's passion. (I would have thought we'd have worked all this anger out of our systems back in July, when the nominations were announced.) As I noted in my Dispatch, if the snub of Lost is what it took for 24 finally to get recognized, I can live with that. This year. Otherwise, Joyce and I are more or less on the same page where the show itself was concerned. One last Emmy gripe, this time from Nevo: "Am I ... read more

Anjelica Huston Puffs on Huff

Anjelica Huston, Huff

From Maerose Prizzi to Morticia Addams, Anjelica Huston has made a career of playing women you don't want to mess with. After she appears on Showtime's Huff (Sundays at 10 pm/ET), striding down a hall in form-fitting clothes, stilettos and a fierce expression on her angular face, you'll add the name Dr. Lena Markova to her power-babe pantheon. "I don't like to think I'm scary," the 5-foot-10 actress says. "Maybe my size contributes to being cast in dominant roles. But then, I've never pictured myself as a wilting flower. So I'm drawn to strong women." In Huston's four-episode Huff stint, which kicked off last night, she plays an unorthodox psychiatrist w read more

Beyond Therapy
Family psychodrama awash in self-pity

As Huff’s second season opens, the title shrink (Hank Azaria) is lost in thought, not paying attention to his droning patient. Kind of how I felt watching this whiny, discordant and unfocused drama (Sundays at 10 pm/ET on Showtime), which whipsaws wildly and mostly unsuccessfully between raunchy dark comedy and existential family tragedy.

I kept watching my DVD time display, waiting (like the doctor) for each hour to be up. I got through seven of 13 new episodes before bailing, around the time Huff’s blabby conscience, which takes the form of a “Homeless Hungarian,” tells him to “wake up and smell the unspoken need.”

What I’m smelling is Showtime’s desperate need to launch a breakout drama that could attract the buzz of an FX or an HBO. Huff isn’t it. read more

I am already predicting the ...

Question: I am already predicting the 2006 Emmy win for outstanding supporting actress in a dramatic series will go to Sandra Oh of Grey's Anatomy. The last few episodes showed Oh's wide range and gift for adding levity to grave plotlines without seeming inappropriate or out of place. From the episode when her character lost her baby, I could identify with the interactions with her mother and snickered at the ways she tried to prove she was OK enough to get back to work, only to be dismissed and ushered back to bed. Then the scene where she is crying uncontrollably while the other interns stand by helplessly watching and she suddenly yells, "Somebody sedate me!" It was a moment that made me want to simultaneously cry and laugh hysterically. And I about fell off my chair when an orderly came running into the trauma room full of train-wreck victims, appendage in hand, and yelled "I found the leg!" And Oh's competitively driven Yang mutters deadpan under her breath "I want that leg." Oh, ... read more

For every drop of refreshing new...

For every drop of refreshing new blood in this year's Emmy field, there's a stubborn residue of tired old blood. The Emmy nominations are an annual rite of frustration in which every positive breakthrough is balanced by an aggravating snub. This year is no different. As expected, last year's instant hits on ABC, Desperate Housewives and Lost, got their due, leading the comedy and drama pack respectively (although Housewives was tied with the academy's longtime, and inexplicable, darling Will & Grace with 15 nominations). But because of the TV academy's regrettable devotion to faded perennials like Will & Grace, The West Wing and Si read more

Blythe Danner Gets Huffy

These days she's best known as Gwyneth Paltrow's mother and Apple's grandma — but Blythe Danner certainly isn't neglecting her acting career. The 61-year-old stars in Showtime's new series Huff, the TV-movie Back When We Were Grownups (Nov. 21 on CBS) and Meet the Fockers, the sequel to the 2000 comedy Meet the Parents (opens Dec. 22). "I'm always surprised that I'm working so much," she says, "because so many of my [peers] aren't. TV is a blessing — especially cable, because it just multiplies the roles for us"TV Guide Online: In Huff you play a mean mother-in-law, and on Back When We Were Grownups, you're a widow with four daughters. Do you get tired of being "the mother"?Blythe Danner: Don't forget grandmothers! But I'll take whatever out there is good. When my husband [the late St. Elsewhere producer Bruce Paltrow] was a struggling writer, I'd do a TV-movie for a couch! read more

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