"V" is for "vamping" — that's been the case for most of the life of ABC's re-imagined, if hardly re-energized, version of V. You know, the show where alien ships hover over Earth week after week, with nothing much happening as Evil Queen Anna coldly plots the destruction of humanity with all those pesky emotional souls while ...
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Question: Hoping you might have some thoughts on Supernatural this season. Like a lot of fans, I've been seriously disappointed by the fact my favorite show seems to be floundering without Eric Kripke at the helm. I'm finding season 6 to be an incohesive mess, with little apparent "through line" when it comes to plot and characterization, and disappointing underuse of both Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins. I'd love to know how you see things, and what your thoughts are for the show moving forward to a seventh season? As you know, the Supernatural fandom is very active online, and I'm getting the distinct impression from go-to fan forums that a good proportion of the fandom is underwhelmed by season 6, and have either jumped ship or plan to if things don't look up after the show starts airing again. — Kate
Matt Roush: I gather you weren't part of the crowd at Sunday's PaleyFest lovefest in L.A., huh? These are almost fighting words when you consider how passionate the fan base for Supernatural is. I can't speak for any fan consensus, because I rarely seek out those forums so as to keep my own perspective untainted. But I'm not surprised to hear this season has been a letdown to many — although it doesn't get better than the recent "meta" episode, which I enjoyed greatly, in part as a commentary on doing a "season 6" when the fifth season was for so long regarded as the show's likely endgame...
Inside the Actors Studio (Monday, 7/6c, Bravo)
Even in those moments when it succumbs to fawning self-parody, there's something about James Lipton's craft/career-focused Q&A's that I find irresistibly endearing. (May have something to do with my nostalgia for what Bravo was like before all of those heinous Real Housewives took over the network.) This week, this marginalized show — notice how it airs outside prime-time parameters — welcomes its first-ever graduate from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University. Said successful alum being Bradley Cooper, beloved by TV fans for his work on Alias but now busy with a film career including The Hangover, Wedding Crashers and the new Limitless opposite Robert De Niro.
While we try to process those terrible images from the Japan earthquake/tsunami, a few thoughts on some of the highs and lows of the week in TV. (And when we speak of highs and lows, of course the subject is Charlie Sheen.)
REMEMBERING CHARLIE HARPER: Malibu is mourning the loss of one of its more colorful residents: jingle writer/children's music composer-performer Charlie Harper (aka "Charlie Waffles"). His passing was confirmed this week in the wake of the career suicide of his notorious alter ego, a self-described Hollywood "warlock" whose overexposed online rants (following a spate of reckless TV and radio interviews) have quickly degraded from the category of morbidly fascinating train wreck to the realm of sick, sad, no-longer-funny joke.
Battle of Los Angeles
Fringe (Friday, 9/8c, Fox)
Hard to imagine the show topping its most recent episode — the haunting "Subject 13" flashback into Olivia and Peter's childhood — but any story that puts Walter Bishop center stage is worth watching, and this week the mournful mad scientist is busy trying to delay the damage he's done to the wall between universes. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, the Fringe Team is on the case of thieves who defy gravity. Now let's see Fringe defy the gravity of those Friday night ratings.
Battle of Los Angeles (Saturday, 9/8c, Syfy)
Gotta give Syfy bonus points for cheekiness. On the same weekend the big-budget alien-invasion adventure Battle: LA hits the big screen, Syfy's knowingly cheesy...
Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein
House (Monday, 8/7c, Fox)
To escape from a very unpleasant reality — the episode is titled "Bombshells" — Cuddy retreats into a dream world, with elaborate fantasy sequences teaming Cuddy and House in a musical number choreographed by So You Think You Can Dance fave Mia Michaels, as well as homages to the Western and classic sitcoms. It's no laughing matter, though, as Cuddy wonders if House will be...
The Defenders (Friday, 8/7c, CBS)
One week before she begins a limited run on Broadway — and let's hope HBO or somebody records THAT show! — the irrepressible Kathy Griffin goes to Las Vegas in a guest shot on this struggling courtroom drama. She is cast to type as a brash insult comic sued for offending one of her audience victims (What, Joan Rivers was busy?) In the subplot, the son of a hotel owner turns to buddy lawyers Nick and Pete for help after he wakes up to find a casino host strangled in a hot tub. What are the odds he's guilty? ...
So how did everyone like 127 Hours: The Oscar Show?
Past experience has lowered our Oscar night expectations, but the enormity of this year's train wreck was hammered home when the starry audience stood and cheered as Billy Crystal took the stage midway through — as if to say: "Come back, Billy! Do something! Please save this show!"
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The 8-time former host teased, "We're running a little long, so here are the nominees for best picture." Bad boy. Funny boy. Boy oh boy, could the show have used a little more of Crystal's comic polish...
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Question: I watch Two and a Half Men for some light, escapist entertainment. I enjoy the laughs and the double entendres. But really, that all stems from the writing. In fact, the Alan-centric episodes are some of the best ones. I wouldn't mind seeing more Berta, either. The Jake character is now of an age where he's picking up more of the storylines. If Charlie moved to London with Rose and his doppelganger cousin came to live in the house, they could keep a ladies man/lush character (if they feel that the show absolutely needs one). In a way, I'm disappointed that they've decided to end the season with no new episodes. Maybe they would have shown that the show could still be popular without the Sheen character. Nonetheless, I am glad that the powers that be saw how far off the reservation Sheen really is and said enough is enough. What's your take on the future of the show? Is it DOA without Charlie Sheen? — Karen
Matt Roush: First off, thanks for reminding us why this matters. In the wake of the latest meltdown and shutdown, there's a lot of "the show sucks anyway/who cares/who watches this crap" cynicism...
Matt Lauria, Jason Clarke
The Chicago Code (Monday, 9/8c, Fox)
As often happens in the best crime dramas, the bad guy often gets some of the meatiest material. And Ronin Gibbons, the Chicago Alderman played so deliciously by Delroy Lindo, is no ordinary adversary. We get a better sense of what makes him tick in this episode, when the powerful politician is confronted by an armed teenage robber, causing Gibbons to look back on his own upbringing, back before he became so cynical about the city's corrupt ways. In another storyline, a bomber blows up a city building and promises more mayhem, putting a ticking clock on Jarek and Caleb's efforts to track down the culprit. This situation is not unlike the dilemma on ABC's Castle an hour later (10/9c), in the conclusion of a tense two-parter that finds Beckett and Castle teaming up with a fed (Adrian Pasdar) to avert a terrorist calamity....