Friday, September 30, 2005

Vaughn's Dead?! Ephram's back! And it's a 'Mad World' on 'CSI!'

So, I said last week that last Thursday's scheduling craze was just a fraction of what the following Thursday's would be, and yet, I still wasn't fully prepared. I managed to catch Alias, Everwood, and CSI, but Without A Trace will have to wait a few days, and I wasn't able to catch the fabulously funny Everybody Hates Chris. Seriously, the networks are out to get us. Three exciting shows last night, which can only mean one thing - another jam-packed edition. So, lets dive right in with the season premiere of Alias. This is another show that literally picked up exactly where it left off. I totally didn't see the false agent thing coming. I didn't trust the guy and I thought he was out to get Vaughn, but I didn't realize he was a "ghost," and no longer working for the government. When Vaughn got shot, I kept thinking that it was some sort of set-up, so I refused to believe he would actually die. Then, he had the surgery and woke up and spoke with Sydney, so I thought I was right. Even though I had heard the rumors, I truly didn't believe that they would kill Vaughn. Now, Syd is left alone and pregnant. It was a really tragic moment, and I just found myself in shock. Michael Ausiello from TV Guide, spoke with series creator J.J. Abrams at the Emmys a couple of weeks ago. Abrams promised that nothing is over until "the fat lady sings." For more on his comments about Vaughn, click on over to TV Guide. I really enjoyed the premiere, and I think it set up a very interesting storyline for the season.

I am so happy that my Everwood is back. I seriously heart Everwood and all its wonderful, complicated characters. How many of you totally thought Nina married Andy, and then thought she married Jake? I know I'm not the only one. They did an awesome job of keeping you guessing about the big wedding. I love the way this show tells a story. We start by hearing the wedding announcement read aloud, then see the reception (with Nina and Andy dancing together and Jake looking on in sadness), and then we journey back a week before to show how everyone got to the point they were at when the show started. Amy's haircut is adorable, and I was happy to see her in better spirits. She seems to have moved on after the whole Ephram debacle. The med student is gay (maybe) and also Bright's new roommate. Hannah is back, braids and all. And Ephram is finally back as well. Is it wrong that I still want him to end up with Amy? I just love these two, and I think they'll be perfect for one another someday. I feel bad for Andy. Despite what Nina said, I think he really does love her. I still don't trust Jake (the pills incident from last season), but he treats Nina and Sam very well. Tough choice, and I wouldn't want to be in Nina's shoes. I still hold-out hope that she and Andy will end up together in the end (which better not be for a long, long time considering I want this show to last forever). Poor Amy, trying to help her mom, but somewhat overdoing it. And then there's Harold and his hysterical quest to build the perfect centerpiece. Loved it! It was sweet to see Irv and Edna finally have a nice wedding. They're a fun couple, and deserved a nice affair. And is it just me, or did Delia mature a lot over the summer hiatus? Maybe it's just the bangs, but she seemed so much more grown up. Overall, an awesome start to the season.

So, we started off with Gary Jules' beautifully haunting and poignant (albeit arguably over-used) "Mad World" on CSI last night. I love this song, so the show started out on the right foot as far as I was concerned. I see the Bruckheimer shows are on a split screen kick lately. Cold Case employed a four-way split screen for the flashback scenes in last Sunday's premiere. It took me a while to get used it, but then I realized that I wasn't missing anything by not watching all four screens at once because they were all just different angles of the same scene. The same was not the case on CSI last night, and it annoyed me because I did miss some things. I'm not sure why they chose to use this little editing tactic when the two cases had nothing to do with each other. I couldn't help but laugh when the actor's death was blamed on autoerotic asphyxiation because of an episode of Cold Case last year. Vera went to a seminar and the instructor's answer for every death was "autoerotic asphyxiation," and it became a running joke with the squad. It's also a popular topic on Law & Order: SVU. I wonder how many people in real life die this way? If you go by television, it would seem that a lot do. I thought the immigrants from Laos storyline was more interesting. It was nice to see Gil and Catherine working a case together again. I love the way they play off each other.

About Last Night... CBS was the predictable winner, and the eye network dominated all three hours of primetime last night. At 8, Survivor easily won the hour, followed by the combination of Joey and the live premiere of Will & Grace on NBC, and Alias landed in third on ABC. At 9, CSI brought in the night's largest numbers, followed by an improved showing of NBC's The Apprentice. ABC stayed in third with its premiere of Night Stalker. The premiere of Everwood on the WB landed in fifth. The final hour of the night belonged to the premiere of Without A Trace, followed by ER on NBC, and ABC's Primetime. For more details on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

Premiering Tonight!!! This is going to be the last day of this feature. It's taking the rest of the season off since most shows have premiered by now (although it might return during mid-season if there are a lot of premieres) . It will be replaced by a new feature starting next week, so be sure to tune in on Monday and all week long to see the newest feature on Pass the Remote! There's only two premieres this weekend (and now you see why the feature is going on hiatus). NBC rolls out the season premiere of Saturday Night Live with host Steve Carell and musical guest Kanye West tomorrow night. Sunday night, ABC premieres America's Funniest Home Videos.


*Look for The 4400 to return next summer. Cable network USA has ordered 13 episodes of the sci/fi drama. The show follows the lives of the 4400 people who disappeared at different times, but all returned at the exact same time without aging a day. New episodes will begin in summer 2006.

*Michael Vartan's character may have died on Alias last night, but that doesn't mean you won't be seeing him on the tube anytime soon. Vartan will make a guest appearance on his former co-star Bradley Cooper's new show Kitchen Confidential. He'll play a scheming French chef who steals Cooper's character's menu to use at his own restaurant. The episode begins shooting next week, but no air date is set yet. Kitchen Confidential airs Monday nights on Fox.

*Former American Dreams sweetheart Brittany Snow is set for a multi-episode arc on the hit FX drama Nip/Tuck per TV Guide. She'll play a white supremacist who becomes romantically involved with Matt (John Hensley). Her first episode airs November 22nd on the cable network.

*And finally, former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis is getting his own sitcom. Kelsey Grammer's production company will produce the show for ABC. No word on the title or Maroulis' role yet.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in on Monday for Cold Case, Without A Trace (finally), and Desperate Housewives. Plus all the latest television news! And don't forget to leave a comment with your thoughts on last night's TV!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

'Lost' Delves Even Deeper into the Hatch! And, the Others are Coming!

Man, this show just keeps getting better and better. The time frame on the island didn't advance any further this week, instead we got a look at what happened in other places at the same time everything went down in the premiere. We learned about the guys on the raft, we found out how Locke got down the hatch, we learned where Kate was hiding, and we delved a little deeper into the character of Desmond. First, let's start with Michael and Sawyer who were stranded out at sea, hanging on to the small remnants of the raft. Walt was officially no where to be found, and Jin was missing and then found. After drifting on the pieces of the raft and escaping a hungry shark, Michael and Sawyer made it back to the island where they encountered a frantic Jin. Apparently, "the others" had him too, and they were fast on his tail. Just who are these "others?" And what do they want with Walt and then Jin? It looks like our Lost boys are in some big trouble now because "the others" don't seem like the friendly types.

While dealing with Michael and Sawyer floating out at sea, we also learned more about Michael's past. He allowed Walt's mother to take him to Europe, and the decision still weighs on him. Michael didn't have the resources that his former girlfriend had, so the fight over parental rights was an uneven one. Michael did what he thought was best for Walt, even though it meant the hardest thing for him. Did anyone else notice that Michael gave Walt a polar bear stuffed animal when he said goodbye to him? And somehow there are polar bears on the island. Nothing is ever a coincidence on this show, so it seems that Walt's abilities might have started when he was very young. Interesting bit of information.

The rest of the episode focused on what happened down the hatch leading up to Jack's realization that Desmond lived down there in the premiere. When Locke first encountered Desmond, Desmond kept asking him if he was "him." Locke played along, but it was quickly apparent that he was not "him" because he couldn't answer Desmond's riddle. I couldn't understand what Desmond was saying, so I kept replaying it on Tivo, but I still didn't get it. Then I replayed it again with the closed captioning on, and he asked him, "what did one snowman say to the other snowman?" Locke didn't know, and Desmond quickly turned angry. This was not the easy-going marathon-running Desmond that Jack ran into while running those stadiums. Dude has obviously been through an ordeal. I thought "him" was going to be Jack, but Desmond did not seem to recognize him when he saw him on the surveillance video. So, it seems that Desmond believes there is some sort of illness plaguing the island. This must be why he quarantined it. Didn't the French woman think the same thing? Is Desmond somehow attached to her? Were they on the same ship that wrecked on the island? And what is this mysterious illness? Do "the others" have it, and that's why they need Walt? The plot just continues to thicken, and I love it! Kate's great escape was interesting. Where did Desmond get all of that food in his pantry? All of it had some sort of label with a seal on it. I noticed the same seal on Desmond and in other places of the hatch. I wonder if it's some sort of government project. I'm seriously loving this season so far! I can't wait to delve even deeper.

NOTE: As much as I wish to be discussing Veronica Mars right now, I am unable to because I am recording the episodes and saving them until I get the season 1 DVDs (less than two weeks to go!). Once I'm caught up, I'll discuss this fabulous show as well. I know I promised some Invasion discussion, but I missed that show last night, so I'll have to try to catch it next week.

About Last Night... ABC claimed the 8 o'clock hour with a repeat of last week's premiere of Lost, followed by CBS's comedy block of Still Standing and Yes, Dear. Fox landed in third with So You Think You Can Dance. NBC's The Apprentice: Martha Stewart continued to slip, finding itself in fourth. Lost easily took the 9 pm hour, followed by CBS's Criminal Minds, and NBC's E-Ring. But, the big story of the night is Veronica Mars' impressive showing on UPN. It landed in fifth for the timeslot, but posted some of its best numbers and it was up quite a bit over last year's numbers. The final hour of the night went to NBC's Law & Order, followed by CSI: NY on CBS, and ABC's Invasion dropped to third (from first last week). For more information on last night's ratings, click on over to Zap2it.

Premiering Tonight!!! It's the anticipated answer to last year's smashing cliffhanger tonight on Alias on ABC. Did Sydney and Vaughn both survive? After Alias, ABC premieres new show Night Stalker. Over on CBS, it's the fourth season premiere and cliffhanger resolution on Without A Trace. NBC kicks off Will & Grace with a special live premiere. The WB rolls out the new seasons of Smallville and Everwood.


*Fox's Prison Break is getting a full season order. The network decided to pick up the series for a full 22 episodes. The show is doing well in its timeslot despite its weak lead-in, and it is averaging 9 million viewers a week. Fox also picked up American Dad for nine more episodes . The order extends the show well into the 2006-2007 season. Prison Break airs Monday nights on Fox, and the animated show American Dad airs on Sundays.

*The cover art for the upcoming release of the Gilmore Girls' 5th season is now available. The 22-episode season discs will include commentaries, featurettes, montages, and a special on the 100th episode. The 5th season will be released on December 13th. To view the cover art, click on over to tvshowsondvd.

*And finally, the new show Commander In Chief received a nice vote of confidence the other night. The premiere attracted more than 16 million viewers, good enough to win the timeslot for ABC. Fox's House took the coveted 18-49 year old group.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for a jam-packed edition filled with Alias, CSI, and Everwood (and some are calling this upcoming season the best yet!)! Plus, all the latest television news. Be sure to leave your thoughts on last night's programs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Roadblocks! Detours! Yields! 'The Amazing Race' is Back!

The number of team members may have changed, but everything that makes The Amazing Race the best reality show on television is still intact. The shear increase in number from two team members to four makes for a much more complicated logistical situation, but the increase in dynamics with two extra members was fascinating last night. Trying to get four people all on the same page and working together in order to stay in the race and, hopefully, eventually win $1 million is really difficult. Two of the teams have small children, which makes the task even harder. I was really impressed with the sportsmanship displayed in last night's episode. Teams were helping other teams with directions and pitching tents, among other things. Not that it was all happy helpfulness the entire two hours, but this crop of teams seems to more in the traditional spirit of The Amazing Race that has made it the best of the best and a three-time Emmy winner for best competitive reality show. Here are some highlights from last night's premiere of the Family Edition:

Most Heart Wrenching Team: The Weaver family. The mom and her three teenaged children stole this award with their backstory. The family lost their father and husband in an accident at Daytona International Speedway almost two years ago. The youngest member, Rolly, says he is racing for his dad.

Team with the Most Heart: The Black family. This team has the honor of having the youngest member to ever race on TAR. Eight year old Austin and eleven year old Kenneth join their parents, and this team believes that nice guys finish first. The team pulled together and worked well together last night. Too bad their motto didn't pan out.

Most Annoying Team: The Paolo family. Every edition of this show has a team that fits this bill, and this edition is no exception. The team argues non-stop, and the two older sons are almost unbearable. Their only redeeming member is their father Tony. He immigrated from Italy and worked his way up so his family could live the "American Dream." The mother, Marion, almost had a breakdown in the car near the end. I can't imagine this team sticking around too much longer, but then again, it always seems to be these types of teams that go far.

Team that Works Together the Best: The Rogers team. So far, most of the teams seem to be working pretty well together, but this one from Shreveport, LA stands out the most. They quickly and efficiently navigated the confusing New York streets, built a waterwheel complete with shed, and found a super-fast shortcut to the pit stop. Older daughter Brittney is a huge asset, but the entire team seems to pitch in and pull their own weight.

Scariest Moment: During the Detour, the Weaver family chose "Buggy It" over "Build It" (I wonder how long it takes the producers to come up with these clever names?). The extremely arduous task required two members to move the buggy while the other two sat inside it for a mile and a half. During the downhill portion the brakes failed, and the buggy ran right over the mom, prompting her shaken-up daughters to recall their father's tragic death. Scary, indeed.

In the end, the Black family found themselves at the pit stop last, and thus were eliminated from the race. It was a pretty intense moment between them and the siblings team, The Linz family, as both teams finished the Detour at the same time. The Black family wound up in last place because of a decision to go a different, longer way than the Linz family. I found myself rooting for most of the teams because most of them seem to be great, so I hope the trend continues. Also, I missed the Roadblock feature, so I hope it returns.

About Last Night...CBS took the 8 o'clock hour with NCIS, followed by a tie between ABC's According to Jim (an hour block) and NBC's The Biggest Loser. At 9, the victory went to the debut of Commander In Chief on ABC. Fox's House moved the network up to second, followed by the premiere of The Amazing Race: Family Edition, and NBC's comedy block of My Name is Earl and The Office in fourth. The final hour went to NBC's Law & Order:SVU, followed by the premiere of Boston Legal. The final hour of The Amazing Race landed in third.

Premiering Tonight!!! It's the much-anticipated second season premiere of Veronica Mars on UPN. I know we've talked about the much-maligned scheduling of this show up against mega-hit Lost, but I have come up with a solution. Lost has enough viewers that it's not in any danger of cancellation, but Mars has struggled from the beginning, so TiVo Lost, and give the viewership to Mars. You can always watch Lost after you finish Mars. Both shows are well worth watching. Remember if you are unable to record one and watch the other, check your local UPN station's listings for Mars' reruns on Saturdays or Sundays. And if you need to catch up (like me), the DVDs hit stores on October 11th. Also premiering tonight, the third and less popular installment of the mega CSI franchise CSI:NY on CBS. This year promises to be lighter (literally, as the sets have been changed), and one of the CSIs is leaving the show.


*Forest Whitaker is joining the cast of the FX drama The Shield. He'll play an officer with Internal Affairs who goes after Michael Chiklis' character and his team. His arrival will fill the void left by the departed Glenn Close. Look for Whitaker's character to start with the new season early next year.

*The first lady is coming to a television near you. She'll make an appearance on an upcoming episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The show is heading to the hurricane ravaged Gulf states to shoot an episode with the crew delivering supplies to a shelter in Biloxi, MS. The show will stray from its usual formula for the episode and focus on giving out the supplies donated by the show's sponsors. The episode is slated to air this November on ABC.

*And finally, it's Nielsen Wednesday. It was a split win for both CBS and ABC last week, with CBS receiving the most viewers and ABC receiving the most viewers in the advertiser coveted 18-49 year old group. CBS was led by CSI (#1), Criminal Minds (#4), and CSI: Miami (#5). ABC saw big returns for Desperate Housewives (#2), Lost (#3), and Grey's Anatomy (#6). NBC broke into the Top 10 with Law & Order: SVU (#8). For the full Top 20, visit USA Today.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for more mysteries on Lost and Invasion (Like, will this show's premise pick up and become more interesting?) and all the latest television news! Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on last night's television line-up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

'Surface' Goes Even Deeper! Plus, Allison Can't Get that Song Out of her Head!

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm really enjoying Surface. I know the critics hate it, but I can't help myself. Apparently, I'm not the only one because more than 11 million of you watched the premiere last week (although according to the overnight ratings not as many of you stuck around for the second episode). I know the show can be cheesy at times (the bikini-clad guests at last night's pool party screaming and running out of the pool as the creature swam through), but CSI: Miami is almost always cheesy, and more than 18 million people watch that show. 18 million people can't be wrong, right? Well, they can, but that's neither here nor there. The point is that Surface has a great premise, so I'm willing to put up with a little cheesiness for now. The creature, in baby form at least, is really adorable, and my heart was breaking for him when he seemed to be dying in the cooler. So, now we know that the creature is able to kill lots of things around it by using some sort of electric pulse. If the baby killed all the goldfish, then just imagine what the big one that washed up on shore in South Carolina could do! I guess this is how the creature was able to take out an entire Russian sub in the pilot. Speaking of the creature that washed up, what in the world is going on with the poor man who got the creature goo on his face? First goop came out of his bandaged cheek, then he went into a "hibernation," then he suddenly woke up and removed the bandages himself. Instead of a scary missing face, we saw a perfectly healed one. That look in his eyes didn't look good, either. Can the creature heal? Or is it just here to harm us? Oh and poor Laura (Lake Bell). She lost her grant and her job. The good news is she still has the stomach contents of the fish that fed off of the dead creature on the beach. Maybe she'll get some answers. Either way, I'll be tuning in to find out!

While we're on the topic of mystery and intrigue, how original and amazingly well done is Medium? Seriously, if you're not watching it, you definitely need to be. I really can't believe it loses to CSI:Miami every week. It is such a superior show that they're not even in the same league! Anyway, whoever had to sit at the computer and work with the non-linear editing program for hours and hours in the middle of the night in order to make last night's episode work, deserves an Emmy and a huge pay raise immediately! How hard must that have been?? When Allison was following the lyrics to "I Will Survive" (and the person who found that song and made it work also deserves some serious credit) in order to find the iPod that belonged to the missing co-ed, the sound editing was incredibly spot-on. I also want to give props to the episode's writer Bruce Miller for coming up with such an awesome concept. The song was only the beginning, and I was racking my brain trying to figure out how the plane crash was going to tie together with the missing girl. Very clever resolution with the model of the farm and the miniature plane. I was happy to see Joe and Allison back on track. Next week's episode looks creepy - Allison has a dream and wakes up to find everything has changed! Can't wait.

About Last Night... CBS and ABC tied for first with The King of Queens/How I met Your Mother and Wife Swap respectively at 8 p.m. Surface fell to third (down from first last week) for NBC, and even Charlize Theron couldn't help the struggling Arrested Development on Fox. The show landed in fifth for the hour. At 9, CBS took the solo lead with its second block of comedy with Two and a Half Men and Out of Practice. ABC's Monday Night Football found itself in second, and NBC landed in third with Las Vegas. Prison Break was able to rise above its lead-in's dismal performance and land Fox in fourth. The final hour of the night also found CBS in first with CSI: Miami, followed by an improved performance from NBC's Medium. ABC came in third with the second hour of Monday Night Football.

Premiering Tonight!!! It's the next installment of CBS's fabulous The Amazing Race. This time, it's the family edition, so each team consists of four members instead of two. ABC kicks off its presidential drama Commander In Chief starring Geena Davis as the first female president, followed by the season premiere of Boston Legal with guest star Heather Locklear. The Denise Richards led Sex, Love & Secrets makes its debut on UPN tonight at 9 p.m. And it's not a premiere, but Lynda Carter and Estella Warren play a set of grifters on a two-show crossover beginning tonight on NBC. The story starts on Law & Order: SVU tonight and continues tomorrow night on Law & Order.


*Good news! For those who wish to watch both Lost and Veronica Mars, but aren't sure how to pull it off with the two excellent shows sharing a timeslot tomorrow night, your local UPN affiliate is coming to the rescue. Each new episode will rerun either Saturday or Sunday on your local UPN station. Check local listings to find the day/time. Now we can have our cake and eat it too! In other Veronica news, you can catch an exclusive interview with star Kristen Bell at It's part of the magazine's webcast from the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Just scroll down to the box with Emmy Party Videos and click Kristen's name. What does she think about the upcoming season? Find out in the exclusive interview. And for more on Mars' second season, click on over to Zap2it. Veronica Mars premieres tomorrow night on UPN.

*And finally, Desperate Housewives is celebrating its second largest audience ever with Sunday night's premiere. The show drew over 28 million viewers, and was up over 6 million from last season's debut. It was the largest premiere for ABC in nine years.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for The Amazing Race and all the latest television news!

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Hot Start to 'Cold Case.' Bree Has "Some News." And it's TV on DVD Monday!

As usual lately, it was a jam-packed evening of first-rate television last night. So many premieres, so little time! Let's dive right in with the third season premiere of Cold Case. I was hesitant to see how the "new girl," Det. Josie Sutton (Sarah Brown), would gel with the rest of the cold case team, and whether or not her arrival would take away from the much-loved characters that already exist on this well-done procedural. The verdict is still out on the latter, but the former seemed to be apparent last night. Everyone seemed to accept Josie except Vera (Jeremy Ratchford), who was too busy focusing on her possible sex scandal at her former precinct. Josie seems like another well written female addition to the team, and Sarah Brown seems to be adjusting to her nicely. She gives Josie a sweetness, but also an edge that goes further than the possible sex scandal. Her first interrogation scene was strong. I felt that her introduction to the team was a little forced and hurried (she was introducing herself to Stillman one minute and interviewing a potential suspect the next), and Lilly (Kathryn Morris) didn't meet her until well into the episode, but overall, I like her and I think she's going to be a positive addition to the show. She comes complete with a past clouded in suspicion and that tough edge that the show is known for with its female characters.

Did anyone else feel that Lilly was somewhat in the background last night? I don't know whether it was the new female addition or whether it was that Scotty (Danny Pino) seemed to get a large chunk of the case, but I just felt like Lilly didn't have a lot to do case-wise. Although, her scene with Claire near the end was incredibly well done, and pretty much made up for the lack of her involvement in the rest of the case. Lilly just seemed "off" last night. It might have been a symptom of her encounter with George in last season's finale. I hope we get to see a more hands-on Lilly in future episodes. Her interrogation scenes are always some of the best on television. The case was very interesting, and I really felt for Quinn and Jimmy as they struggled through their predicament. The resolution was very touching when we learned that Jimmy had decided to stay with Quinn and raise their daughter. He was a stand-up guy, and he made for a very tragic victim. Loved the use of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" as the closing song. I was somewhat disappointed in the mere brush-over of Lilly's ordeal during last season's finale. We got a small glimpse when she entered the elevator carrying the newspaper article with George's burial notice. Other than that, she seemed unaffected. Did she take time off? She handed her gun to Stillman after she shot and killed George, but there was no mention of time off or psychological counseling. Was this why she had a sort-of back seat role this week? Perhaps this episode was not originally intended to be the premiere? I'm not sure. I'm hoping Lilly's emotional state is addressed in future episodes. Overall though, I thought this was a great start for Cold Case. The case was emotional and gripping, and it was good to see our favorite cold case detectives back on the job.

"Well, I have some news. Rex is dead." And thus began a very interesting journey through grief and comedy last night during Bree's (Marcia Cross) ever-so-controlled meltdown over the death of her husband. Her calm demeanor was even more on display when she and Danielle met the new neighbors (Alfre Woodard), and Bree calmly explained that there had been "a death in the family." It was classic Bree, and classic Desperate Housewives humor. Gabby's (Eva Longoria) jailhouse visits with Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) were equally as funny, especially when Gabby pointed out that no one died during her affair. Raise your hand now if you think that her forged paternity test results are going to come back to get her? Yeah, me too. Lynette's (Felicity Huffman) multi-tasking interview was hysterical! You just knew she'd get the job after her effective display of her multi-tasking abilities. Oh, and poor Susan (Teri Hatcher). Every time she thinks things are going well with Mike (James Denton), she gets thrown a curve ball like chances are Zach (Cody Kasch) is Mike's son. Now, she can't move in with him because she doesn't want Zach around her daughter Julie (Andrea Bowen). The culminating funeral scene was both hilarious and poignant as Bree replaced Rex's prep school tie with one that better matched his burial suit. An excellent start to what looks like a promising season. I can't wait to find out who new neighbor Betty Applewhite is holding captive in her basement!

About Last Night... Late-running football wreaked havoc on the schedule last night, so the ratings are a little confusing. CBS won the 8 p.m. hour with 50 minutes of news magazine 60 Minutes and ten minutes of Cold Case, followed by the second hour of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and The West Wing in third over at NBC. At 9, ABC had the night's most watched show with Desperate Housewives, and CBS slipped to second with the remainder of Cold Case and the beginning of its Martha Stewart movie. NBC stayed in third with Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The final hour of the night belonged to ABC, with the second season premiere of Grey's Anatomy, followed by Crossing Jordan on NBC, and the conclusion of the Martha Stewart movie on CBS. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

Friday night saw good returns for Ghost Whisperer, which won the hour. NBC's new reality show Three Wishes took the 9 p.m. hour, and the return of CBS's Numbers won the final hour of the night. For Friday's full ratings information, click on over to Zap2it.

Premiering Tonight!!! No new premieres tonight, but it doesn't mean that the night isn't jam-packed as usual. Laura (Lake Bell) tries to get closer to the truth, but ends up suffering a setback and the mysterious creature wreaks havoc at a party tonight on NBC's Surface. Later on NBC, Allison gets a song stuck in her head (Don't you hate that?!), but she soon realizes that it's a clue to a missing co-ed on Medium. And, Oscar-winner Charlize Theron guest stars on Arrested Development on Fox.


*If you missed the hysterical premiere of UPN's Everybody Hates Chris last week, you can catch it on search engine Google for the next four days. The promotion begins today, and runs through Thursday when the second episode airs. The show premiered to big numbers last week and captured more viewers than NBC's Joey.

*UPN is releasing information on Veronica Mars' second episode. Veronica works to help a family member disprove the sheriff on the episode entitled "Driver Ed." Actress Tessa Thompson joins the cast, and the episode will feature the music video to the new song "No Sleep Tonight" by The Faders. The single will be the first off of the Veronica Mars soundtrack. The episode airs October 5th. For more information and spoilers, visit The Futon Critic.

*And finally, it's TV on DVD Monday! The fourth season of Gilmore Girls hits shelves today. Plus, look for Law & Order: SVU(season 2), The Amazing Race (season 1), and Spongebob SquarePants (season 3) to also arrive at your nearest DVD retail store. For more releases, visit

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for more thoughts on Surface (will it improve from the so-so pilot and become a great show and not just a great concept?) and the always intriguing Medium. Plus, all the latest television news.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Melted Bodies in a Trunk? Flying Car? Stripper Limousines? It Must be 'CSI' Friday!

So, the networks gave us a free pass last night because, relatively speaking, it wasn't that difficult to catch all your favorites. If, however, you thought it was bad trying to navigate the glut of fabulous TV last night, well, hold on to your hats because next week is far worse! We add the season premieres of Alias, Everwood, and Without A Trace to our already crowded Thursday primetime schedule. Crazy, I know! Anyway, if you caught the premiere of CSI, then you know that it was back to business as usual. Good to have the team back together again! Oh, and Warrick (Gary Dourdan) got married??!! And Catherine's (Marg Helgenberger) jealous??!! I mean, they had a moment in the drain pipe during last season's "Down the Drain" episode, but I really didn't think that Catherine had a "fantasy" about her and Warrick together. Very interesting. Needless to say, I was surprised she told him about the end of her fantasy.

In addition to the interesting personal news, last night's episode was a three-for-one, and it marked the return and addition of Sofia (Louise Lombard). I have to be honest, I was a little hesitant about her addition to the team, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that she's a detective now. I think she'll make a nice balance to the science portion of the show. Now, to the cases. All three were very bizarre, but ended up with very simple answers. The dead cheating husband with the tires tracks on his chest and the trailer fire ended up being a simple drunk driver who lost control and sent his car airborne into the trailer, striking the gas line first and causing the explosion. The limousine stripper died because she tried to steal ten bucks from the homeless man in order to get her Mercedes out of the parking lot, and the melted bodies in the trunk of the car were a result of a drug addict wanting his supply and not getting it. The addict shot the two and put their bodies in the trunk, where they "melted" from the severe Las Vegas heat. Yuck! Now, I'm all for the campy CSI-style gross out tactics (I usually laugh), but last night's melted goo on Greg (Eric Szmanda) was too much! I'm still grossed out over that scene! Anyway, the episode was a nice start to the season. Looking ahead to the fourth episode, CSI Files has some great scoop on the upcoming episode "Shooting Stars," but be warned, the link is spoiler-filled. The episode deals with the gruesome aftermath of a cult of religious fanatics according to the site.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the hilarious Everybody Hates Chris. I watched the half-hour comedy's premiere last night, and it lived up to the critics' hype. The show is very well done. It's like watching Chris Rock's side-splitting stand-up come to life through the work of a terrific cast. Tyler James Williams, as Chris, is fabulous! Rock's narration cracked me up, especially the part where he talked about his father knowing the price of everything (When the milk spills, he says, "That's 49-cents worth of milk. Somebody's gonna drink this!"). Besides the funny lines, the show has a lot of heart. The characters are very likeable, and you find yourself rooting for all of them from the beginning. They keep saying that this is the year of the comedy, and if Chris is any indication, then it seems they're right.

About Last Night... CBS once again ruled the roost on Thursday night. Survivor easily won the 8 o'clock hour, followed by a repeat of Dancing With the Star: Dance-Off on ABC. But the big story of the hour belongs to UPN. The premiere of Everybody Hates Chris virtually tied NBC's third place Joey in total viewers from 8-8:30 p.m. UPN's 8:30 premiere Love, Inc didn't fare as well, so UPN took fifth overall for the hour behind Fox's The O.C. CBS took the 9 o'clock hour as well with the premiere of CSI (the night's most watched show), followed by NBC's The Apprentice (which suffered its worst opening ever). ABC landed in third with the results show for Dance-Off and the first half-hour of Primetime, and Fox once again landed in fourth with Reunion. At 10 p.m., CBS's new show Criminal Minds walked away with the win, followed by ER on NBC, and ABC's Primetime. For more information on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

Premiering Tonight!!! CBS rolls out Ghost Whisperer and the second season premiere of Numbers starting at 8 p.m. Over at NBC, it's the premiere of Dateline, and the debut of Three Wishes and the fertility drama Inconceivable. ABC premieres it reality show Supernanny and comedy Hope & Faith. Finally, Fox rolls out comedies The Bernie Mac Show and Malcolm In the Middle, followed by the new cop show Killer Instinct.

Premiering Sunday!!! This is going to be a crazy night, so I'm going to go network-by-network.

CBS: It's the third season premiere of Cold Case at 8 p.m. EDT (although football might delay the start, so be sure to allow extra tape just in case). Lilly (Kathryn Morris) and the team reopen the 1988 case of a teenager who died the same night his child was born. Also, look for Sarah Brown to join the cast as a new detective.

NBC: The West Wing moves to its new night and time with its 7th season premiere, followed by Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Crossing Jordan.

ABC: There's a special two-hour premiere of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, followed by the much anticipated second season premiere of Desperate Housewives, which according to star Teri Hatcher picks up exactly where we left off, and the night closes with the premiere of last year's hit medical drama Grey's Anatomy.

WB: Charmed kicks off its new season, followed by the premiere of the sketch-comedy show Blue Collar TV.

HBO: The cable channel rolls out another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, followed by the debut of Extras.


*Fox is announcing the first casualty of the new fall season. The legal drama/comedy Head Cases is done. The network canceled the low-rated series after two episodes. Fox will run new episodes of Nanny 911 in its place until the MLB Playoffs start up next month. Head Cases starred Chris O'Donnell and Adam Goldberg as mismatched lawyers.

*John O'Hurley and his partner Charlotte Jorgensen are the winners of ABC's Dancing With the Stars: Dance-Off. Viewers voted between O'Hurley and soap star Kelly Monaco based on their performances the other night. The judges gave their scores, but only the viewers votes counted for the final tally, which came down to a one percent difference between the two teams.

*And finally, the final numbers are in for Wednesday's premieres of Lost and Invasion on ABC. Lost found 23 million viewers and Invasion finished with a staggering 16.8 million according to TV Guide. On the flip side, Martha Stewart's version of The Apprentice managed only 7.6 million viewers. Proving that Martha in primetime is not such a good thing.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in Monday for my thoughts on the Cold Case (Will we like the new girl?) and Desperate Housewives premieres. And as always, all the latest television news!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

In the Aftermath of an 'Invasion.' Plus, 'Lost' Down the Hatch!

Well, it was another slam-packed night of premieres last night, and ABC did not disappoint! Two interesting shows back-to-back, and both gave us a lot of new questions to ponder for the weeks ahead. Let's start with new kid on the block Invasion. TV Guide named this drama one of the best new shows of the season, and other critics have been raving about it as well. The show had to overcome some serious setbacks because of last month's Hurricane Katrina and the massive Rita that is threatening to wallop the Gulf coast once again. The first half of the episode was very hurricane heavy, and I'm sure most of us couldn't help but draw parallels to what we've witnessed with Katrina (National Guard, gas runs, people losing everything, etc.), but the story was only beginning.

Russell Varon (Eddie Cibrian) and ex-wife Mariel (Kari Matchett) argued over Mariel's perceived notion that Russ isn't very responsible with their two children (Jesse and Rose) as the strong storm approached. Rose set out to find her lost cat, and Mariel and Russ went looking for her separately. Russ found her, and they headed back to the house, but his park ranger truck overturned. Russ, Rose, and the cat (who had been hiding in the truck all along) are left to ride out the storm on the side of the road. Meanwhile, Mariel is missing. They found her the next day, naked in the Everglades. She is unharmed, but she seemed different, causing Rose to remark, "Mommy, you smell different." She's not the only one who went missing, but ended up naked and "different" when they returned. A local priest experienced the same fate. Young Rose noticed lights landing in the water in the Everglades when she was out looking for her cat, and her step-uncle Dave (Russ's new wife's brother) believes the storm and the lights are the work of aliens. So, what exactly happened during the hurricane? Did aliens come down to Earth and inhabit Mariel's and the priest's bodies? And what caused the death of the skeletal remains that Dave found in the Everglades? Is Mariel's new husband (Sheriff Tom Underlay) the mastermind of the entire alien plot if there is one? His interesting quote to Mariel at the end of the episode while they were looking over what appeared to be hatched egg shells, seemed to indicate that he was aware of Mariel's new state. The show grabbed my attention, and it's an interesting take on a natural disaster. One of the executive producers is Thomas Schlamme (who also directed the episode) from the Aaron Sorkin days of The West Wing, so he brings a lot of promise to it as well.

So, we finally got to see what's down the mysterious hatch on Lost last night, but there was no sign of the crew on the raft (stay tuned next week for them). In true Lost fashion, the answer was even more bizarre than we could have imagine, and it raised even more questions. I know some people are not fans of this type of storytelling, but I am loving it! I was afraid the answer was going to be a big let down, but finding out that a man lives down there, and not just any man, but Desmond from Jack's stadium run many years ago, it was all too clever for words! So many coincidences - the numbers on the hatch, Desmond (who sounded Australian, which is where the flight originated from), Sarah (Jack's "wife") regaining the use of her lower body after Desmond spoke with Jack, and so on. And what to make the of the large "Quarantine" written on the inside of the hatch. Wouldn't the word be placed on the outside of the door of whatever was being quarantined? If so, then is the island the one in quarantine and Desmond is not? I can't wait to find out! Meanwhile, did Shannon really see Walt in the jungle? If so, why wasn't he making any sense? Maybe "the others" have done something to him already. He did seem to be covered in some sort of goo. It seems that Vincent was trying to lead Shannon to "Walt," but why? Overall, it was an awesome start to Lost's second season, and a promise that the show does not disappoint!

About Last Night... ABC owned the night, winning all three hours of primetime. At 8, a Lost recap special led the way followed by a distant The Apprentice: Martha Stewart on NBC. CBS landed in third with comedies Still Standing and Yes, Dear, and Fox took fourth with reality competition So You Think You Can Dance. At 9, Lost got some of the show's best numbers ever as viewers tuned-in in droves to find out what lies down the mystery hatch. NBC just edged a repeat of CSI on CBS with the premiere of the new Pentagon drama E-Ring. UPN moved up to fourth with America's Next Top Model, and Fox dropped to fifth with the already low-rated Head Cases. The final hour of the night brought more good news for ABC, as new show Invasion held on to a sizable chunk of Lost's massive audience to win the hour. NBC's Law & Order took second, and the final hour of the CSI rerun landed in third for CBS. For full ratings information for last night, visit Zap2it.

Premiering Tonight!!! CBS kicks off the 6th season of the most watched show on television, CSI, followed by a special broadcast of new show Criminal Minds (it will move to its normal Wednesday timeslot next week). Over at NBC, it's the one-hour season premiere of Joey, followed by the original Apprentice, and ending with the 12th season premiere of ER. Finally, it's the much-anticipated debut of the Chris Rock comedy Everybody Hates Chris on UPN, followed by the series premiere of Love, Inc, then the new season begins on Eve, and the night finishes with the season premiere of Cuts.


*NBC is now confirming that Medium will air a special 3-D episode during November sweeps. The episode will follow Allison (Patricia Arquette) as she explores the deeper meaning in artwork and discovers another dimension to it. Her discoveries lead her to believe that the artist has a deadly secret. The special 3-D glasses needed to view the episode will be distributed through the November 21st edition (on sale November 17th) of TV Guide magazine (both on the rack and through subscription), which will feature a special collector's edition Medium cover. Viewers will also be able to visit NBC's web site or TV Guide's web site for information on getting a pair of the glasses. The episode will air November 21st on NBC.

*Missed any episodes of the WB drama Everwood? Well, ABC Family has the solution. The cable network purchased the off-network rights to the series and will air all 89 episodes with the option to pick up future seasons. No official launch date yet, but the reruns are expected to begin on ABC Family next fall.

*And finally, Bravo is releasing player information for its upcoming seventh season of Celebrity Poker Showdown. This tournament will feature a round made up of the men of Desperate Housewives and a million dollar jackpot. For a full list of the celebrities set to appear, visit The Futon Critic. The seventh season kicks off October 13th.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the CSI edition. Plus, all the latest television news! And be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on any of last night's premieres.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Something to Buzz About? Plus 'Law & Order: SVU's' Stabler as a Sex Offender?

Buzz. It seems like the quintessential tool for a successful television show these days. Of course, plenty of shows manage to have huge success without ever achieving the highly sought after buzz of other shows. But, why do certain shows attain buzz status and others never do? It's an interesting question without a clear answer, but I thought we could try to dissect the issue and come up with some probable conclusions as to why some shows, even low rated shows, generate huge amounts of buzz.

So, what is buzz anyway? It's the intangible factor that moves shows and their stars onto the television hot list. Buzz shows are the ones you keep hearing about, the ones you think everyone must be watching. A great example can be seen on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. Buzz show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition goes head-to-head with crime procedural Cold Case. Which do you think wins? Well, if you go strictly by who gets more buzz, then it would seem that Extreme Makeover wins by a mile, but the ratings show a tight race between the two shows last season. Some weeks Extreme Makeover came out on top, and others it was Cold Case. So, why do certain shows get more buzz? There seems to be several reasons, and they have to do with how the show generates buzz. Some shows are just critical darlings. Critics peg them from the moment they see the pilot over the summer, and they never let up on them. Arrested Development has been a critical darling from the beginning, even winning the Emmy for best comedy last year, but it has not developed a significant audience (its new Monday night timeslot didn't help either. The show managed only 4.6 million viewers the other night). Despite the lack of viewers, the show remains a buzz show because critics keep buzzing about it. Some shows achieve buzz status because they have watercooler appeal. These shows are constantly talked about at work "over the watercooler" or among friends creating an illusion that everyone is watching them, so you must be missing out if you aren't. Desperate Housewives quickly became a buzz show after it made rounds around many watercoolers. It seems the final way to generate buzz is to push the envelope and the broadcast standards as far as you can. Nip/Tuck has been considered "controversial" since it premiered, and it hasn't let up as witnessed by last night's premiere ( it created a lot of buzz before it aired because of a gratuitous sex scene involving three participants). The show's shock factor has kept it in buzz circles. Shows that tow the line with strong episodes, little critical acknowledgement, and lack of watercooler appeal seem to never achieve the coveted buzz status, but these shows also seem to do just fine without it.

Well, Law & Order: SVU started off with a bang last night! It was nice to see Stabler (Christopher Meloni) get an episode where he had to play it cool for once. Knowing his track record for getting extremely angry with sex offenders, it must have been difficult for him to go undercover as one. The lingering question from the episode is whether or not Stabler coerced the newly released sex offender into committing a sex crime again just so they could re-arrest him. The detectives knew his M.O. from his old rapes, so they bought a van like he used to use to rape the women he grabbed off the street, and they even sent a young-looking cop in as a decoy. Did the Special Victims Unit tempt guest star Robert Patrick's character too much and drive him to almost rape again? Or was it only a matter of time anyway, and this way the detectives caught him before he did it again? Was he responsible for the rape in the beginning of the episode? Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on the episode.

About Last Night... CBS won the 8 o'clock hour with NCIS, followed by ABC's According to Jim and the first half hour of the final dance-off for Dancing With the Stars. NBC landed in third with The Biggest Loser. Fox's Bones took a hit and dropped to fourth, followed by the WB's Gilmore Girls. At 9 p.m., Fox moved into the lead with House, followed by the remainder of Dancing with the Stars, and NBC landed in third with its combination of My Name is Earl and The Office (BUT, My Name is Earl won the timeslot from 9-9:30, beating Fox and ABC). NBC easily won the final hour with the night's highest rated program Law & Order: SVU. CBS came in second with the finale of Rock Star: INXS, followed by ABC's Wife Swap. For more information on last night's ratings, visit zap2it.

Premiering Tonight!!! ABC roles out its much anticipated second season premiere of Lost, followed by the debut of the supernatural drama Invasion. Over at NBC, it's the debut of the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice, followed by the debut of the Jerry Bruckheimer pentagon thriller E-Ring, and the night ends with the 16th season premiere of Law & Order. CBS premieres comedies Still Standing and Yes Dear tonight. Finally, UPN premieres its successful reality competition America's Next Top Model with Tyra Banks and the gang.


*It looks like more episodes are what the doctor ordered for Fox's House. The network decided to extend the show's 22-episode season by two, bringing the total up to 24 episodes this year. The premiere's 15.9 million viewers and creator David Shore's Emmy win for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series prompted Fox to order the bonus episodes.

*Keeping with Fox, fans of 24 will have to wait an extra week to catch the special two-night four-hour premiere. The show will open its fifth season on Sunday, January 15th with a two-hour episode, followed by another two-hour episode the next night. The second night's episode will be the show's 100th. The series will once again continue through its weekly episodes uninterrupted until the finale. For more information of the premiere and the fifth season, visit The Futon Critic.

*NBC plans to make a weekly series out the high school football film Friday Night Lights per Variety. The network has put the show on the fast track, and hopes to have it ready for Fall 2006 to coincide with its new NFL coverage package. The film's writer/director Peter Berg plans to write and produce the pilot, which will be set in present day. The popular sports film starred Billy Bob Thornton as a high school football coach in small-town Texas in the 1980s. The peacock network has not made a formal pilot commitment to the series yet, but it is very interested according to NBC Universal Television Studio President Angela Bromstad.

*And finally, it's Nielsen Wednesday. CBS reclaimed the ratings throne last week led by its 57th Annual Emmy Awards telecast (#2) and the premiere of Survivor (#3). The eye network landed six of the top ten programs with a mix of CSI (#6, #8), NFL National Postgame coverage (#7), and comedy Two And a Half Men (#9). Fox and ABC split second place, but Fox grabbed the most viewers. For the full top 20 programs, visit USA Today.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for a jam-packed edition as we go down the mysterious hatch on Lost and discuss the powerful forces behind the Invasion. Plus, all the latest television news.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

We Finally Scratched the 'Surface'! Plus a Thrilling 'Medium'!

Well, the Emmys have come to an end for this year, but there's no need for despair. The new TV season has officially begun! There was so much new TV on last night that TiVos and VCRs everywhere must have been startled out of their summer hibernation. And, that was only night one! We haven't even gotten to the terrible Wednesday conflict of Lost v. Veronica Mars or the scheduling maze that is Thursday nights! Poor, poor TiVo! Here are my thoughts on last night's highlights, plus another extended edition of Premiering Tonight and a brand new feature!

Ok, who watched Surface? Come on, let's see those hands high in the air. The critic-panned creature show was not as bad as they led me to believe. Usually, a show's weakest outing is its pilot. It's difficult to establish characters (and make you like them), a backstory to the place/places the show takes place, and an overarching theme all in the course of an approximate 43-minute span of programming (padded to a full hour with commercials). A good rule of thumb is if a concept catches your attention, stick around for the second episode at least, because it will give you a better feel for the show. Some of my favorite shows wouldn't be my favorites today if I had given up on them after watching the pilot. Surface is definitely one of those shows that has an intriguing concept, but a not-so-hot pilot. The characters are cardboard cutouts with the secretive, crazy scientist, the bitchy, clueless older sister, the stupid kid who brings the mysterious object home and puts it in his parents' fish tank, the never-there parents who send their kids to private school, the young mother who put herself through school and is now a successful marine biologist, and the separated parents who bicker while swapping out their son. But, this is something that can evolve with the show. Like I said, the pilot serves as an establishing episode, so we can overlook these seemingly throw-away characters. Lake Bell is charming as a marine biologist determined to be a part of a discovery she witnessed first hand. The ending scenes promised a lot more, and they definitely grabbed my attention. Was the "meteor shower" off the coast of Belize just some shooting stars, or something more than that? And what does this "sea creature" want? I'll stay tuned for a few more episodes at least.

How good was the Medium premiere last night?? I thought Captain Push was a goner! What a great twist with his father appearing to Allison to tell her to finish her dream. I know that people usually roll their eyes at serial killer plots because they're so overdone on television, but this show kept it fresh like all its other plots. The future killer's mother was so scary when she promised that her son would destroy everything his father built. Ok, so I saw the cop-is-really-the-killer-in-disguise gimmick coming, but Capt. Push's shoot down redeemed the moment. The sneaker realization was well done as well. How freaky was the promo for next week's episode? Why was an airplane crashing through a field? Probably another one of Allison's prophetic dreams. This episode (or rather, conclusion to the finale) was a great start for Medium's second season. One concern I had about this show was whether it could remain as fresh as its short first season, but this episode proves it can. I hope the show continues to bring us original plot lines, real moments at home, and interesting characters. The only thing I'm concerned about is Allison and Joe's marriage. I hope that doesn't take a wrong turn. I always enjoyed their relationship last season.

About Last Night...Welcome to the latest feature on Pass the Remote. Everyday, I'll be bringing you a recap of how your favorite shows fared in the overnight ratings. So, lets go ahead and start with last night's line-up. ABC's Monday Night Football took the 8 o'clock hour, but NBC's Surface finished second, followed by CBS comedies King of Queens and How I Met Your Mother. Critic favorite Arrested Development landed in fifth place for the hour. At nine, it was another victory for Monday Night Football, followed by CBS comedies Two and a Half Men and Out of Practice in second. NBC landed in third with the premiere of Las Vegas, and Fox took fourth with Prison Break. CBS took over the top spot at 10 p.m. with the premiere of CSI: Miami, Monday Night Football came in second, and NBC's Medium finished in third. For full overnight ratings information, click on over to zap2it.

Premiering Tonight!!! ABC kicks off the Jim Belushi-comedy According to Jim at 8 p.m. Over at NBC, it's the debut of critical favorite My Name Is Earl, followed by the second season premiere of The Office. Law & Order: SVU caps the night with its 7th season premiere with Det. Stabler (Chris Meloni) going undercover to trap a recently released sex offender. CBS premieres the third season of crime-meets-military drama NCIS at 8 p.m. EDT. And finally, it's the much anticipated season premiere of Nip/Tuck over on FX.


*Are you ready for the dance-off between Kelly Monaco and John O'Hurley? ABC is airing the 91-minute event tonight starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT. Soap star Kelly Monaco will once again team with her partner Alec Mazo, and actor John O'Hurley will re-team with Charlotte Jorgensen for a rematch of this summer's Dancing With the Stars final competition. Monaco won the original under a cloud of scrutiny and viewer allegations that the judges and the network "fixed" the competition in her favor. This time, viewers have the final and only say. The three judges will offer their opinions, but they do not have a say in the outcome. Viewers will vote after the show tonight. ABC will reveal the results and the winning couple this Thursday during a special broadcast.

*John Stamos is set for a two-episode stint on ER. He'll play a Gulf War Vet who's working as a paramedic while attending med school. Stamos had been signed on for a recurring role, but had to back out when ABC renewed his show Jake in Progress for midseason. His episodes will air on NBC during November sweeps.

*And finally, Lisa Kudrow's Comeback is over. HBO decided not to renew the show for a second season due to low ratings. Kudrow played a one-time sitcom star desperate to regain her glory days by agreeing to a reality show in the off-beat series.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Law & Order: SVU coverage. And what makes a show "buzzworthy?" We'll explore tomorrow. Plus, all the latest television news!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Emmy Recap, Tons of Premieres, and TV on DVD Monday!

Welcome to an extremely chock-full edition of Pass the Remote! I've got full Emmy coverage, a special expanded edition of Premiering Tonight, and all the latest television news. So, let's dive right in with last night's 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

It was an interesting night filled with surprises, laughs, and a few predictable wins. Ellen DeGeneres combined her usual wit, charm, and funny stunts to give the awards show a light, but remembrance tone. The white magnolias adored on most of the attendees served as a constant reminder of those still suffering from Katrina's effects. The "Emmy Idol" was a bust, and Kristen Bell was robbed! How does Donald Trump beat Kristen Bell?? Robbed, I tell you! It was nice to see David Letterman pay tribute to the late Johnny Carson, and the piece on the three former network anchors - Tom Brokaw, the late Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather - was a moving segment that reminded us how much we miss our favorite. ABC's Lost and Desperate Housewives walked away with the most statues, taking six each. HBO reigned supreme over the networks, earning a whopping 27 wins over the course of both ceremonies (Creative Arts Emmys and last night). Overall, it was a fun night that gave us some truly deserving winners.

How happy was I to see Lost win best drama? I know I picked Deadwood because I really thought it was going to take the statue, but I really wanted it to go to Lost. No other drama in the category had the same impact last season. How shocked beyond belief was I to see Desperate Housewives not win the comedy category? Very, very shocked. I thought it was a lock, but the final season of Everybody Loves Raymond was fabulous, and it was a fitting tribute for the series to walk away with its second and final Emmy this year. Oh, and I was elated to see my girl Felicity Huffman take the best actress in a comedy statue! She was my "should win" pick, so it was a happy moment for me. And then, I was shocked once again to see Medium's Patricia Arquette take the best actress in a drama award. On the supporting side, I was disappointed that Brad Garrett won his third best supporting actor in a comedy award. I would have preferred Peter Boyle. Doris Roberts' win was no surprise, and neither was William Shatner's, although I thought the Academy would give it to fellow Emmy-fav Alan Alda. I was pretty shocked with Blythe Danner's win for Huff in the best supporting actress in a drama category, as I thought it belonged to Tyne Daly. For a full list of winners, click here.

Here's a look at the night's highlights (and lowlights):

Most Shocking Win: Patricia Arquette for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This gets the edge over Desperate Housewives shocking loss because it just didn't seem like Arquette had a chance against such huge competition.

Funniest Acceptance Speech
: S. Epatha Merkerson for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. Merkerson informed us that she had prepared a list of thank you's, but it slipped too far down her dress for her to recover. Then when she was informed to "wrap it up," she simply looked at the camera and said "Thank you!"

Best Acceptance Speech: Felicity Huffman for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. After almost succumbing to tears, Huffman declared, "oh no, I'm becoming one of those actresses!" Later, she thanked husband William H. Macy by relaying a cute story about their courtship and eventual marriage.

Best Reference to Iraq: Patricia Arquette said that she prays that when the soldiers get to come home from Iraq, that they all come home safely.

Worst Reference to Iraq: Blythe Danner's political shout-out at the end of her speech to bring the troops home. Award shows just aren't the place for politics.

Best Moment of the Night: When young actor Tyler James Williams from the upcoming Everybody Hates Chris reminded us all to donate to Habitat for Humanity in order to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, he was accompanied by a young boy who knows the need first hand. It was a touching moment, and a fitting tribute to the Gulf Coast.

Funniest Ellen Joke: On the winners always saying that they didn't expect this at all: "You were nominated. You had a one in five chance!"

Worst Segment: The "Emmy Idol" didn't work for me. It was extremely pointless, and it took time away from the winners. Plus, my girl Kristen Bell was robbed!

Kristen Bell performs "Fame" at the 57th Annual Primetime Emmys

Most Robbed Nominee: Mariska Hargitay and Jennifer Garner. Incredible actresses who definitely deserved to win.

Best Dress: Felicity Huffman's red dress was simply gorgeous!!!

Felicity Huffman arrives for an afterparty after winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Finally, it's time to grade my (not so hot) predictions. I only got two out of ten correct (Doris Roberts and James Spader), so I'm giving myself an F, but that's okay because a lot of my "should wins" actually won, so I was happy!

Shifting gears a bit from the Emmys to the official kick-off of the new Fall Season! Today is September 19th, which means all our favorite shows are starting soon. Here's a quick rundown of what's premiering tonight in my special extended edition of Premiering Tonight!!!

*NBC kicks off the night with its new creature thriller Surface, then it's the third season premiere of Las Vegas, followed by the second season premiere of Medium with newly crowned Emmy winner Patricia Arquette.

*CBS begins its two-hour comedy block with King of Queens, followed by new show How I met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, and new comedy Out of Practice. The fourth season premiere of CSI: Miami closes the night for the eye network.

*Fox premieres critical favorite Arrested Development and new comedy Kitchen Confidential starting at 8 p.m. EDT.

*The WB kicks off the tenth season of its family hit 7th Heaven, followed by the premiere of new show Just Legal. NOTE: I incorrectly reported on Friday that this show would premiere October 3rd, followed by an encore on TNT. The show will premiere TONIGHT. The partnership with TNT is for the October 3rd episode. I deeply regret the error.

*UPN premieres returning shows One on One, All of Us, Girlfriends, and Half and Half.


NBC dramas Crossing Jordan and Las Vegas are set for a another cross-over this season. Crossing Jordan's Woody (Jerry O'Connell) once again travels to Sin City to work on the case of a dead showgirl in Boston who has ties to the Montecito Casino. There, he'll work with Las Vegas' Sam (Vanessa Marcil) while Jordan (Jill Hennessy) stays in Boston to work with Las Vegas' Danny (Josh Duhamel) on the Boston angle. This is the second crossover for the two NBC shows. The latest one starts on Crossing Jordan on October 2nd, and finishes on Las Vegas the following night.

*CBS is basking in the glow of good ratings for its 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards telecast last night. The show saw a 35% jump in the ratings from last year's telecast. It was the most watched broadcast since 2002. For full information on the ratings for the telecast, visit The Futon Critic.

*And finally, it's TV on DVD Monday! The big news this week is that the first season of Desperate Housewives will be on shelves tomorrow. Also look for Battlestar Galactica (season 1) and The Pretender (season 2) to hit stores tomorrow. For the full list of releases, visit

That's all for this extra long edition of Pass the Remote. Be sure to tune in tomorrow as I introduce a new feature on the blog. Plus more premieres and all the latest television news. Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on last night's Emmy awards. Were you happy? Shocked? Mad? Let me know with a comment.

Friday, September 16, 2005

EMMY WEEK EDITION: Which Shows Will Take the Top Awards?

Well, Emmy week is coming to an end, but the big show is only two days away. Soon, we'll find out just how off we all were in all our predictions, and we'll all be happy with some wins and scratching our heads over others. Yes, it is the glorious time known as Emmy Sunday. There are only two more major categories left, and they're the biggest of them all. Which shows will win best comedy and drama? Here are my predictions, hopes, and snubs as well as all the information you need about the big show Sunday night. After you read them, be sure to leave a comment with your picks.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Arrested Development
Desperate Housewives
Everybody Loves Raymond
Will & Grace

WHICH SHOW WILL WIN: I'm going to go ahead and count Will & Grace out right away. The show just isn't what it used to be, and it hasn't won since 2000. I'm also going to count out Scrubs because I think the Academy will view its nomination as enough recognition this year, especially with the immense competition in this category. Arrested Development won last year, but I don't see a repeat this year. I think this comes down to Everybody Loves Raymond and Desperate Housewives. Raymond has an edge because it wrapped up last season, so it sets up that "now or never" situation, but the show did take the statue two years ago. I think Raymond will walk away with a lot of awards Sunday night, but not this one. Housewives is just too big of a force to reckon with this year. The show has huge critical praise, tremendous amount of buzz, the distinction of saving ABC, and a likeable cast. I will be shocked, shocked I say, if it doesn't win this category.

WHICH SHOW SHOULD WIN: Probably Scrubs. The show has slowly and quietly become one of the most original comedies, and certainly one of the funniest on television without receiving a lot of recognition or viewers. It's a steady, proven show that always makes us laugh. The wacky characters and their even wackier antics are pure comedy with a little bit of drama and heart thrown in. It's a well-rounded show, and it deserves to take the statue.

WHICH SHOWS GOT SNUBBED: The King of Queens is a funny show in the same tradition as Everybody Loves Raymond. They're both traditional sitcoms with talented leads and equally talented supporting players. It would be nice to see Queens fill the open slot left by Raymond next year, but it probably won't. The show deserves some recognition for its consistently hysterical episodes. Also, the always charming, witty, and smart Gilmore Girls. I'd love to see it in this category, but alas, I know it will most likely never be.

Outstanding Drama Series

Six Feet Under
The West Wing

WHICH SHOW WILL WIN: The West Wing was on a role from 2000-2003, winning this category four times in a row until HBO's The Sopranos snapped that streak last year. Now with The Sopranos out this year (due to air dates), does this mean a return to glory for The West Wing? I wouldn't count on it. Like Will & Grace, this show isn't as good as it used to be (although better this past season than previous), especially with the departure of creator Aaron Sorkin. The rest of the shows in this category have never won, and I don't think that's going to change for 24. The show has a hard time breaking through with Emmy voters. Six Feet Under finished its last season, but many people found it to be a little "off," so I don't think the "now or never" scenario will come into play. That leaves newcomer Lost and gritty western Deadwood. Lost burst onto the scene, but it failed to make the same impact as Desperate Housewives, so I don't see it taking this category on its first nomination. Look for Deadwood to ride off into the sunset at the end of the night with the statue.

WHICH SHOW SHOULD WIN: I'd have to go with newcomer Lost. It is such a character- heavy show with rich storylines and phenomenal writing, acting, directing, cinematography, and everything else. It hits the right notes in every element of the show. I realize that it will have many more opportunities to win this category in the future, but I feel that the show deserves the statue this year.

WHICH SHOWS GOT SNUBBED: Everwood, most notably. A show that is strong in every element, and yet, constantly ignored because of its network. Newcomer Veronica Mars deserved a shot at Emmy gold as well, as did the departed Joan of Arcadia. I know it's hard for procedurals to earn a spot in this category, but Cold Case deserved a chance because it blends the procedural element of the moving, dark cases and the detectives' personal lives very well.

Telecast Information
The 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

WHEN: This Sunday, September 18th on CBS

WHERE: Live (except on the West Coast) from Los Angeles

TIME: 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. EDT (approximate)

HOST: Ellen DeGeneres

SCHEDULED PRESENTERS: Patricia Arquette, Bobby Cannavale, Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman, Kathryn Joosten, Phil Keoghan, Ray Liotta, Jeff Probst, Alan Alda, Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson, Halle Berry, the Blue Man Group, Zach Braff, Jon Cryer, Geena Davis, Patrick Dempsey, Portia De Rossi, the cast of "Desperate Housewives," Charles S. Dutton, the cast of "Everybody Loves Raymond," Craig Ferguson, Matthew Fox, Lauren Graham, Adrian Grenier, Alyson Hannigan, Mariska Hargitay, Hugh Laurie, Jason Lee, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jesse L. Martin, Debra Messing, Conan O'Brien, Chris O'Donnell, William Petersen, Ellen Pompeo, Kyra Sedgwick, Charlie Sheen, Jimmy Smits, James Spader, Jon Stewart, Kiefer Sutherland, Quentin Tarantino and Sela Ward.

Pre-Show Coverage

E! will air its annual Live From the Red Carpet Emmy Awards arrival show starting at 6 p.m. EDT. Host Star Jones will interview all the big stars as they arrive for television's biggest night.

The TV Guide Channel will also air its own red carpet show Sunday night at 6 p.m. EDT. Joan and Melissa Rivers will gab with the nominees and presenters and everyone else as they arrive for the big night.


*Premiering Tonight!!! CBS gets a jump on the competition tonight with the premiere of its supernatural/alien drama Threshold. The special two-hour debut starts at 9 p.m. EDT. Over at the WB, it's a mix bag of new and returning shows premiering. The night kicks off with the return of What I Like About You, followed by new-show Twins, and then Reba and Living with Fran. And on Sunday night, you can catch the season premiere of Fox's animated comedy King of the Hill.

*The new WB drama Just Legal will get an extra boost from cable's TNT. After the show premieres in its 9 p.m. Monday WB timeslot, TNT will air an encore at 10 p.m. of the first episode with its powerhouse reruns of Law & Order as the lead-in. The show stars Don Johnson and Jay Baruchel as mismatched lawyers - Johnson is a veteran street lawyer and Baruchel as a teenage wunderkind. The show premieres October 3rd on the WB, followed by the encore on TNT.

*And finally, ABC, ESPN, and the NFL are pulling together for hurricane relief Monday night per zap2it. During a special football doubleheader on ABC's Monday Night Football (in which the New Orleans Saints take on the New York Giants in one game), Disney owned ABC and ESPN will hold a telethon to raise money for the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. ESPN's Chris Berman and Good Morning America's Robin Roberts will host the special, and a number of current and former players will join in on the special. The telethon kicks off with Monday Night Football September 19th.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in Monday when I recap the awards show. All the winners, all the great moments, and I'll grade my predictions. Don't forget to tune in to The 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday on CBS. And be sure to come back next week for all the scoop on premiere week (Yay! It's finally here!!), and all the latest television news.