Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Never Ending Leg of the 'Race!' Plus, it's Nielsen Wednesday!

It was another thrilling night of racing last night on The Amazing Race! The teams headed out of the gate and off to a local elementary school in Salt Lake City where they grabbed a number and slept in their campers until their respective shuttles left. The Weavers were spared elimination last leg, but were without their belongings and any money (which they reminded us by reciting the clue that said that one team has zero dollars for this leg of the race, and of course, added that favorite Amazing Race line, "I wonder who that is!"). Minor exaggerated drama ensued when the Weavers met up with the Linzes and they tried to rub it into their faces that they were not eliminated, and therefore, the Linzes wasted their Yield. Onward and upward as the teams learned that they would be taking a hot air balloon ride. The much-hyped "midair collision" between two teams was seriously a slight brush between the two balloons. There was no drama, no almost death moments, no hurt feelings, nothing like what the CBS promos led you to believe. Shocking, I know. There was, however, some drama when the Weavers' balloon landed on a steep hillside close to an interstate, but everyone got out alive and they quickly moved on to the next location, Heber Valley Railway. Now, it's time for a Godlewski update. They managed to finish the hot air balloon task without a major breakdown! Maybe this would be the leg of the race where they managed to work together instead of against each other. Things were certainly looking good.

Oh, I spoke too soon because a major breakdown was right around the corner! At the Heber Valley Railway, the teams encountered a Detour that had them choose between "Spike it or Steam it." In Spike it, teams had to lay down 20 feet of railroad the old fashioned way and get it inspected before they received their next clue. In Steam it, teams had to load 400 pounds of coal into an old steam engine train using a wheel barrel and buckets. All the teams, except the Weavers, chose Spike it. The Linz boys quickly started hammering and aligning as Megan looked on and the Bransens were right behind them. It seemed that WalDER had finally found a task in the race that he excelled at, while his daughters tried to help. The Weavers, although behind, used a huge helping of teamwork and charged through Steam it, beating the Godlewskis and landing in third behind the Linzes and Bransens. It is time once again for a Godlewski update. Remember how I thought that this leg might be the charm for this team, wow was I wrong! The sisters tried desperately to complete the Detour, but their constant bickering caused them to work against each other instead of with each other. Once they finally completed the task, they got back in their car and all decided to blame Chris for choosing the Spike it Detour. Of course, this led to a Chris breakdown and then more put downs by her sisters. Having completed the Detour, all the teams were headed for the Tree of Utah, which was not a tree, but a giant sculpture in the middle of the Salt Flats that one of the Bransen daughters called a "tree of hemorrhoids." Phil told us that the "tree" was built "to bring color and beauty to the stark landscape." Wow, that really didn't work, did it? Maybe if they had, I don't know, made it look more like an ACTUAL TREE! Anyway, this was neither here nor there as the teams found their clues and learned that they would travel to Garden City to spend the night. The order in which they arrived would dictate the order in which they would depart the next morning.

The Bransens were first out the gate, followed by the Weavers, Godlewskis and Linzes (who were held up by a "production error" in which one of the cameramen accidentally drained their car battery while charging some of his equipment for the second week in a row). The teams headed to a ranch in Wyoming where they encountered a Roadblock. Two members from each team needed to mount horses and round up some cattle. The Bransen daughters breezed through the task and the Weavers did as well, although they had an advantage because both daughters ride and the family owns horses. The Godlewskis had yet, another breakdown on their way to the ranch. In a scene that almost mirrored the scene in the first Austin Powers movie when Austin attempted to back up in a small cart and turn around in a narrow hallway, Sharon Godlewski passed the road they needed to take to reach the ranch, but it seems that she isn't very good at backing up with a large camper attached to her vehicle. She would back up an inch, pull forward an inch, and so on. But unlike the "International Man of Mystery," Sharon had a WIDE OPEN, flat road to use and yet, still could not get things turned around. Luckily for the wacky sisters, a friendly passerby stopped and got their vehicle back on track. All of the teams completed the Roadblock, and they headed to Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful. Each team needed to see the geyser erupt before they received their next clue, but it only erupts every 90 minutes. Out of all The Amazing Race time tricks, this one has to be the best. The 90 minute difference could be a deciding factor in who goes home! But wait, after watching the eruption, the Bransens and the Weavers were neck and neck and a foot race ensued as they approached Phil sitting on a fence at a ranch, except where was the mat? Where was the cute little "Amazing Race Wyoming" marker?? Oh that Phil is a tricky one! This was not a Pit Stop, but just another stop to receive another clue! Phil informed both exhausted teams that the leg was not over. Back at Old Faithful, the Godlewskis and Linzes were disappointed to learn that they had just missed the eruption. After waiting the 90 minutes, they saw another eruption and received their clues. The two teams were back on the road headed to Phil, and we got the dreaded "To Be Continued..." on our screens.

I would be remiss if I did not at least mention last night's Law & Order: SVU. This show is always good. You can count on it, but every so often it has an episode that just blows you away. This was that every so often episode. How scary was this episode? Once again we went from one thing (kidnapped Hurricane Katrina survivors) and ended up somewhere seemingly unrelated (local journalist in jail because he won't reveal his source) without batting an eye. I always enjoy the Olivia-heavy episodes the best because she's a fascinating character and Mariska Hargitay is such a gifted actress. She really shone last night. This was an excellent episode and a stand out for the season. I really hope they follow up with poor Jackson who is sitting in jail protecting freedom of the press and Olivia's behind. I'd also like to see if the feds interview the SVU team and get to the bottom of the leak and how that affects Liv. This episode left open so many possibilities, and I'd like to see this show pursue them in the future.

About Last Night... CBS won the first hour of the night with NCIS, followed by the first half of NBC's The Biggest Loser finale and ABC comedies According to Jim and Rodney. At 9, NBC's The Biggest Loser conclusion won the hour, followed by House on Fox and Commander In Chief on ABC. The final hour of the night went to NBC's Law & Order: SVU, followed by ABC's annual Ten Most Fascinating People and a rerun of Criminal Minds on CBS. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - Perennial holiday favorite Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer airs tonight on CBS. Over on NBC, it's another holiday favorite as the network airs Christmas in Rockefeller Center.

@9 p.m. - Kate's crime is finally revealed and the survivors lay one of their own to rest on ABC's Lost. As of last Thursday, this episode was scheduled to run an extra four minutes, and it's also more than likely the last new episode to air before the new year. Over on UPN, Alyson Hannigan returns to Veronica Mars as Veronica uncovers some information about her mother that leads her to believe that she may not have known her well at all. After the show airs, log onto and watch an alternate ending to the episode. Then, you will have the chance to vote for your favorite ending! The alternate ending will only be available for one week, so remember to log on after the show and check it out!

@10 p.m. - Van Burren's college friend's daughter is found dead on NBC's Law & Order. Over on ABC, Dave is abducted and Sirk gets a look at one of the orange, luminescent beings on Invasion. As noted above, Lost will run four minutes longer, so this show will begin at 10:04 p.m. This episode marks the last before the show goes on a short hiatus to accommodate the recently moved Alias.


*Tom Selleck is headed back to a TV near you. The former Magnum P.I. star will guest star on an upcoming episode of Boston Legal. He'll play Shirley Schmidt's ex-husband, for whom he still carries a torch. Selleck's last guest appearance on a television show was back in 2000 when he made his final appearance as Monica's former boyfriend on Friends. Look for Selleck's appearance on Boston Legal later this season.

*CBS is blending the popularity of cell phone ring tones and one of its hit shows. You'll hear Coldplay's single "Talk" first tonight on CSI: NY and then you'll have an opportunity to own it as your cell phone ring tone. The new single will be featured as a ring tone in a scene where Danny gets a call regarding the case the CSIs are working. CBS will then air promotional messages during the break that will alert viewers as to how to purchase and download your very own "Talk" ring tone. Later in the episode, you will hear the Coldplay single in the background. The single is featured on Coldplay's hugely popular X&Y album. The episode of CSI: NY featuring the single airs tonight on CBS.

*And finally, it's Nielsen Wednesday! CBS once again dominated the ratings led by CSI (#2), Survivor (tie #4), Without A Trace (tie #4), Cold Case (tie #6), CSI: Miami (tie #6), and NCIS (#10). ABC landed in second in total viewers, but first in the 18-49 year old group. The rest of the top 10 include Desperate Housewives (#1), Grey's Anatomy (#3), Lost (#8), and Law & Order: SVU (#9). To see the entire top 20 shows, click on over to USA Today.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Lost (what exactly did Kate do that landed her in the custody of a U.S. Marshall?) and Veronica Mars (two endings for the price of one? Can't wait to see how this goes!). Plus, all the latest television news!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Haunting 'Medium' and Playing Catch Up with 'Veronica' and the 'Housewives!'

Well, we had another enthralling episode of Medium last night! Allison's creepy hit-and-run dream was a clue, not a future event. It was a clue to a previous case where a 15 year old girl died in the exact matter shown in her dream. At first, I was a little confused as to how Allison's dream fit in with the woman who killed herself and believed her house was haunted. Apparently, it was not the haunted house that caused the woman to shoot herself, but the guilt of what she and her husband had done a year before. After celebrating her birthday with a few drinks, the two drove down the same street as the one in Allison's dream, and also keeping with her dream, a dog ran into the street, followed closely by a young girl. The husband didn't see her in time, and ran into her. He then sped off, afraid that his drinks with dinner would land him in a jail cell. So now, everything tied together nicely. After the wife killed herself, her ghost made sure her husband also paid for what he had done to the 15 year old. It was one of the more tragic episodes of this show. On the family front, Ariel had a vision of what she thought was her new friend dying in a hospital bed in what seemed to be slightly in the future. After her other visions came true, Ariel was upset because she feared that this one would come to fruition as well. Allison tried to reassure her by telling her that these visions aren't always correct. Turns out, it was Ariel's new friend's cousin that she saw and not her friend. One of the best themes of this show is the constant reminder that having these types of visions isn't necessarily a gift. Ariel's struggle last night with what to do with the information she had seen reinforced this idea. Another solid episode from this show.

Since I was off most of last week, I wasn't here to discuss last week's shows with you. I don't have time to recap my thoughts on all of them, so I wanted to take a moment and play catch up with two great episodes from two fantastic shows. First up, last week's Veronica Mars. This episode served to further the overarching season long plots and it added more mystery and suspense. We got a bigger glimpse at that letter that Duncan pulled out of Meg's vent, but the ending scene left us wondering just what it said and why it was so important. Duncan was dreaming about Meg and Veronica, but his dream about Veronica was negative. Meanwhile, Veronica gets herself into some big trouble with the Fighting Fitzpatricks and Logan comes to her rescue. After realizing she's safe, she cries in Logan's SUV because of what happened and the fact that Logan carries a gun. She tells him through her tears that he's going to get himself killed. Does Veronica still have feelings for Logan? Does Duncan still have feelings for Meg? Did Veronica choose Duncan simply because he was the "safe" choice? Is it all leading up to a Veronica/Duncan break up? You never can tell on this show, which is why its so fresh and original. I know I sound like a broken record, but this was another excellent episode.

Continuing with the catching up theme, and on to Desperate Housewives, which had stumbled out of the gate this season, but has feverishly made up for it the last few weeks. Sunday's episode was the best so far this season in my opinion. It had just the right mix of humor, satire, heart and darkness. It also set up an awesome storyline between Gabby, Carlos and Sister Mary Bernard. The writers have finally given Susan an interesting storyline with plenty to do. Her scenes at the feed store were hysterical. I loved her quick thinking in the hospital room, and her whispering in her father's ear that she's not giving up. Lynette's work scenes were hysterical as well, and I loved the fact that she made a huge mess out of everything. From what Nina said, it sounds like she has just inherited a huge responsibility that she is not going to want. Edie was her usual sarcastic self. And then there was the big shocker with the Bree storyline. I know I've been saying that I wish George would leave the show because I just despise the character, but I have a confession. Since Bree discovered his true nature and started despising him as much as I do, I was enjoying the George storyline. Now, I'm a bit sorry he's gone. I guess it's a classic case of be careful what you wish for, however, the manner in which he died was classic. Bree found out about what he did to Rex, but instead of admitting what he did, George denied it as Bree let him lie there and die from the overdose of pills he took to win some sympathy from Bree. I love the irony of George the pharmacist killing himself by taking too many pills. Awesome work by Marcia Cross in this scene! Now, onto my new favorite storyline on this show. As if Carlos's decision to live a virtuous life through the help of Sister Mary Bernard wasn't funny enough, they went and set up a hysterical plot between Gabby and said nun. I really can't wait to see how this develops.

About Last Night... ABC started out the evening on top with Wife Swap (football on the West Coast), followed by CBS comedies King of Queens and How I Met Your Mother and NBC's Surface. At 9, ABC continued to dominate the night with Monday Night Football, followed by CBS comedies Two and a Half Men and Out of Practice and NBC's Las Vegas. The final hour of the night went to football on ABC, followed by CSI: Miami on CBS and Medium on NBC. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - A girl's decomposed remains are found in a refrigerator forcing Brennan to square off against her former mentor and lover on Fox's Bones. Over on CBS, McGee is accused of killing an undercover cop on NCIS.

@9 p.m. - Two teams collide midair during a hot air balloon ride on CBS's The Amazing Race. Over on Fox, a patient's death prompts an investigation into whether Chase or House may have caused it on House. Mark-Paul Gosselaar joins the cast of ABC's Commander In Chief tonight.

@10 p.m. - The detectives investigate three children who were kidnapped in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and discover an even greater threat when they encounter Anthrax on NBC's Law & Order: SVU. Over on ABC, Barbara Walters interviews The Ten Most Fascinating People of 2005, including Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx and Kanye West.

@11 p.m. - For those who like to stay up late, TNT is airing season 1 of Cold Case every Tuesday night in this slot. Tonight's episode is a stand-out of not only the first season, but the entire series. Lilly receives a call from a man claiming to have killed his grandmother and buried her in the basement in 1989, but all is not what it seems. Just when you think this episode is going to go down the stalker/female cop route, it takes a turn and surprises you. The ending of this one is extremely well done and it has an Emmy worthy performance by star Kathryn Morris.


*Bad news for two new shows. Fox is canceling Reunion after it struggled to find an audience in a tough, competitive Thursday slot. The show lost viewers after returning from Fox's baseball hiatus, and fell to fifth behind timeslot rival Everwood on the WB. Fox has not said whether or not it will wrap up the central mystery on the show. Also getting a pink slip is ABC's Hot Properties. The network decided not to pick up any additional episodes of the freshman comedy. The show is expected to run through December with the original 13 episodes ABC ordered. And finally, CBS is now confirming the end of Threshold according to CNN.

*The Simple Life finally has a home for its fourth season. The reality show starring Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton will air on E! next year. The feuding stars will not shoot scenes together, instead they will each take turns filling in as a housewife with a different family each episode. The family will then decide which of the two did a better job. The new season will air sometime next spring. E! also picked up the rights to air the previous seasons in reruns.

*And finally, some great news for CBS's Cold Case. The crime drama scored its largest audience ever the other night with more than 19 million viewers according to the preliminary Nielsen data. The show also had its best performance this season in the 18-49 year old category. The episode landed in first place in its timeslot, beating ABC's powerhouse reality tear-jerker Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

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

Monday, November 28, 2005

The 'Case' of the Murdered 4 Year Old Brings out the Tissue Boxes! Plus, TV on DVD Monday!

Welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I'm still unraveling the maze of shows that I missed that are saved on my TiVo, so needless to say, there are a lot of episodes that I haven't seen yet. One show that I did catch was last night's Cold Case. First up, New Girl #2 Watch. It seems that the writers are attempting to introduce her to us very slowly after the whole debacle with the Josie character. I see this character comes complete with a past buried in some sort of Fishtown shooting. I still don't know how I feel about the character since we really don't know her yet, but I'm still not liking the addition of another detective. This episode was extremely case heavy and it needed to be because the case was very involved. The first half of this episode was so emotional that I wasn't sure that I would make it through the entire episode, but the second half was less so. I don't think that it was necessarily less emotional, but more that I had adjusted to the heavy tone by the time the second half rolled around. I think this show is always more difficult on the emotions when it delves into the cases that involve children, but this case was especially so because the victim was only four years old, the youngest Cold Case victim so far. I found myself reacting to the episode the minute it started all the way until the closing scenes.

I knew as soon as little Vivian's broken body washed up on the shore that she had been abused, but that wasn't a central mystery to this episode. In fact, this episode had more questions than any other I can remember. First, the detectives had to determine who abused Vivian and her (surprise!) twin sister Maura. Turns out Maura had been adopted after her mother left her in a church when she was four, and she remembered very little about her real parents and family. It looked like a dead end, but Lilly and co. were able to track down the mother's name through a doctor who treated Vivian's broken arm in 1965. This show always asks the viewer to go out on a limb when it comes to witnesses memories, but it's even more the case when the murders are older, but I thought the doctor's recollection was pretty believable. He didn't remember every detail, but enough to send the detectives down the right path. I was a little surprised when it turned out to be the girls' cop father who was beating them and their mother. It was sad to see how ignored spousal and child abuse was back then, even by the medical community. Officer Balducci's parking lot justice and eventual "killed in the line of duty" tactic was very vindicating, and I loved how Vera and Jeffries decided to look the other way. I only wish Cindy had known that her husband was dead so she, Maura and Balducci could have been a family. She sacrificed so much because of her horrible husband.

The ending of the episode was the only part that fell a little flat for me. I know that the husband was a horrible person and certainly capable of killing his own daughter just to teach his wife a lesson, but I didn't completely buy his dropping Vivian off the bridge. I suppose he was desperate and enraged and the bridge was just there, so he decided to drop Vivian, but it just seemed so cold, even for this scumbag. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the awful things that people do to one another, especially since there are so many real life cases that are far more unbelievable. It was somewhat of a bummer that Vivian's killer never spent a day in jail for his crime, but it was satisfying to know that Balducci served up some justice in the case. I really liked the closing scenes with Maura and Cindy's reunion and then Balducci joining them on the beach. Stillman's scene in the bar where he asked the bartender to take down the picture of Cindy's husband was another nice justice moment. Overall, another strong episode for this show, which has been having a very good run as of late.

About Last Night... CBS started out on top with Cold Case, followed by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC and Fox's The Simpsons and The War At Home. At 9, ABC's Desperate Housewives took the hour, followed by the CBS movie Silver Bells and NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The final hour of the night went to ABC's Grey's Anatomy, followed by CBS's movie and NBC's Crossing Jordan. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - Laura and Rich finally reach the surface, but find there is no boat waiting for them and Miles makes a visit to the hospital after he unexpectedly passes out on NBC's Surface.

@9 p.m. - Fox's Prison Break rolls out what the network is calling its "Fall Finale" as Michael puts his escape plan into action. According to the network, the show will return sometime next year, but I would expect a cliffhanger to keep you wondering until then. Over on NBC, a surprising change of events thwarts a hostile takeover of the Montecito on Las Vegas.

@10 p.m. - Allison investigates the death of a woman who believed her house was haunted on NBC's Medium.


*CBS is taking new drama Threshold off its schedule for the remainder of sweeps. Even less promising is a report from The Futon Critic that says that CBS has halted production on the freshman series. The series floundered a bit in its original Friday night slot, so the eye network switched it with fellow struggling show Close to Home. The move proved successful for Home, which last week earned the Fridently and a full season order, but disastrous for Threshold, which lost viewers with the move. The show stars Carla Gugino as a doctor thrust into the government world after her threshold strategy is put to the test.

*Also receiving a dose of bad news last week was ABC's Alias. The network alerted the spy thriller that the current season will be its last. Executive Producer Jeff Pinker confirmed the news last Wednesday and said that the cancellation is a good news/bad news situation because they hate to lose the show, but the early announcement gives them plenty of time to finish up the show in proper style. This is Alias' 5th season, and it has struggled in its new Thursday night slot against Survivor and the advent of star Jennifer Garner's pregnancy.

*And finally, it's TV on DVD Monday! Look for the 5th season of CSI to hit shelves tomorrow along with Family Guy (volume 3), Project Runway (season 1) and Crank Yankers (season 2, volume 2). For the full schedule of releases tomorrow, visit

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for thoughts on tonight's Medium and last week's Veronica Mars. Plus, all the latest television news!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

'Medium' Crosses into Another Dimension! What Other Shows should go 3-D? Plus, Primetime Pass!

So, the much-hyped, much-talked about 3-D episode of Medium has come and gone. The thing about sweeps stunts is that they rarely ever live up to the hype that surrounds them. They also tend to be extremely "stunty" without any substance at all. Take last night's much-hyped death on NBC's Las Vegas. I'm not a regular viewer of this show, but I do tend to catch an episode or two from time to time. I decided to tune in last night to catch the "shocking death of a major character" (I told you I had "sucker" written on my forehead!), and the entire thing was completely silly, even for this show. In case you missed it (and be glad you did), Lara Flynn Boyle's character was standing on top of the Montecito in a ridiculous dress that actually contained wing-like fabric on its sleeves (this alone made the scene unbearable). A predictable huge gust of wind came along and blew her off the roof in a scene that was reminiscent, but far less cool, of one of the shocking scenes from The Forgotten. The scene was literally blown out of proportion and so was the hyped death. The same holds true for so many of these ratings stunts that networks pull this time of year. Keeping this in mind, I cautiously approached last night's 3-D stunt on Medium.

I'm not sure any other show on television could have pulled off what Medium did last night. It managed to make the 3-D trick work, and work well, without sacrificing plot, character or integrity, which are usually the first things to go in sweeps stunts. Not only that, but the 3-D actually made sense! I know it's hard to imagine, but it did. The show normally takes viewers into another world, the one inside Allison's head. We see the visions that she sees, and we try to make sense of them just as she does. Last night was no exception as she worked to solve the murder of a young woman whose blood was found all over the walls of a public restroom. The crime scene led her to an art gallery, and the paintings led her to the answers. The 3-D came in when Allison viewed the paintings by one particular artist, the son of a wealthy businessman. Through the paintings, Allison and the viewers (via 3-D) watched the brutal murder scene unfold. The only problem was that it wasn't the young girl's murder, but her mother's. Turns out the wealthy business man killed her mother in 1982 and took her son to raise as his own (in order to get a cut of his wife's fortune) after learning that his son was infected with the AIDS virus that the baby received from his AIDS-infected mother. The daughter was killed in present day presumably because she learned the truth. Sure, there were the usual 3-D tricks (knife handle sticking out, paint pouring on the screen, etc), but what would a 3-D episode be without them? One of the coolest tricks came when the killer threw a butcher knife at the victim and it soared through the air at a fast pace right at the viewer. It made me jump! It was a nice touch to have Rod Serling introduce the episode. Wouldn't it be awesome if this show did a future episode that paid homage to The Twilight Zone? I'd love to see that!

Watching the special 3-D episode of Medium got me thinking about others show that could possibly pull this trick off. As I said above, I don't think there are any that could pull it off as well, but there are some that could probably do a decent job without being too gimmicky. Here's a list of a few shows that I think could pull it off:

Surface - The underwater scenes, like in last night's sunken submersible episode, could benefit from the 3-D effect. How creepy would those creatures be in 3-D too?

Prison Break - Can you imagine the great escape in 3-D??? How great would that be!

Lost - The hatch, jungle and action scenes would all be even more intense in 3-D. Can you imagine "The Others" running toward you?!

Alias - Syd (and now Rachel) has some awesome kick butt scenes that would work well for 3-D.

Those are the shows that top my list. What shows do you think could pull off a 3-D episode? Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts.

About Last Night... ABC won the first hour of the night with Wife Swap (football on the West Coast), followed by CBS comedies King of Queens and How I Met Your Mother and NBC's Surface. At 9, ABC stayed on top with Monday Night Football, followed by CBS comedies Two and a Half Men and Out of Practice and Las Vegas on NBC. The final hour of the night went to CBS's CSI: Miami, followed by football on ABC and Medium on NBC. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - Carole King guest stars on a new episode of WB's Gilmore Girls as Lorelai and Rory celebrate Thanksgiving. Over on Fox, Brennan and Booth help a death row inmate who makes a last minute appeal for their help on Bones. ABC kicks off its 3-hour coverage of the 33rd Annual American Music Awards with performances by Mariah Carey, Kenny Chesney, Sheryl Crow, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Rob Thomas, Tim McGraw, The Rolling Stones and many others.

@9 p.m. - Teams receive a clue from an unlikely messenger on the 100th episode of CBS's The Amazing Race. Over on Fox, an AIDS patient begs House to take his case and Cameron faces a health scare of her own on House. Beau Bridges guest stars as Earl's father on NBC's My Name is Earl as Earl works to cross "cost Dad the election" off his list.

@10 p.m. - Annie Potts, Fred Thompson and Judith Light guest star on NBC's Law & Order: SVU. The detectives work a case involving a young girl who went for an abortion and wound up beaten so badly she lost her baby. Over on CBS, Threshold tries out a new night and time as Elizabeth Berkley guest stars as one of three women who show signs of infection.


*CBS is staying close to Close to Home and it's giving it a permanent timeslot. The eye network gave the Jerry Bruckheimer show a full season order and its current Friday night slot where it has flourished since the network moved it there two weeks ago. The show stars Jennifer Finnigan as a suburban prosecutor. CBS has not announced a decision on the timeslot's former owner Threshold. Also on the good news front, NBC renewed The Biggest Loser for another season.

*Actor James Woods is checking into NBC's ER for a guest appearance on the medical drama. He'll play a patient suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, who's also Abby Lockhart's former professor. Look for the Oscar-nominated actor's episode to air February 2nd on NBC.

*And finally, Survivor and The Amazing Race alum Rob Mariano, a.k.a Boston Rob, is joining CBS's Early Show. He'll have his own segment called "Rob to the Rescue," where the reality show veteran will travel to different towns to help people in need. The segment is a departure from Mariano's former conniving reality persona. Boston Rob's first appearance on the morning show will air November 22nd.

That's all for today and this week. I'm off the rest of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Plenty of your favorite shows are airing new episodes this week like Sunday's Cold Case which features a chilling case involving a dead four year old and written by one of the show's best writers Veena Sud (pack your hankies!). There's also Veronica Mars on Wednesday with the return of Tina Majorino! Lost is also featuring a new episode Wednesday night, and the tailies and Sayid merge! That's just a few of this week's offerings, so be sure to put your TiVos and VCRs to good use while you spend time with your families and friends! I'll be back next week with plenty of television news, Cold Case, and a wrap up of this week's best episodes! Be sure to tune in then!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stillman Gets a Personal 'Case' and We Learn what it's like to have a Child Vanish 'Without A Trace!'

We didn't really get a good feel for new girl #2 last night on Cold Case. They only gave us two scenes with her, the second of which set up her permanent arrival (in what I assume will be) next week. So far, I didn't love her and I didn't hate her, but like I said, she barely made an appearance. Whether or not she takes away from the other characters remains to be seen. Anyway, the case last night was pretty interesting. I found myself pulled in all different directions. At first I thought Carl was murdered, then I though he killed himself, then I went back to murder. I suspected Daniel from the beginning, but the episode's writing convinced me that he was innocent. I didn't think that the cowardly Ken was guilty, though, because he wasn't able to handle Fort Hood, let alone killing someone. The pot angle was unneeded and thrown in just to throw the audience off. One way you can tell it was unneeded was the fact that it was completely underdeveloped. They mentioned it several times, but never followed up on it. In the murder scene at the end, there was a blink-and-you-miss-it moment where it was explained. Apparently killer Daniel had it on him and POW Carl took it away in order to keep Daniel off drugs. I do think that Lilly was right about Carl when she said that he planned on killing himself but someone else got there first. Even as he lay dying, he told Daniel to run off and save himself. It was the only way that he knew how to make up for his own perceived shortcomings in the POW camp. He went home and his fellow soldiers were stuck, which led to Daniel's father's death. This was something that Carl found hard to swallow. His life had changed in the time that he was gone, and his wife had found solace in the arms of a man who claimed to be a wounded POW. Carl's story was tragic, and I couldn't help thinking about poor Ned who grew up with his father serving in the military, then spending time in a POW camp, returning home a different man, and then dying of a gunshot wound in his home city. I liked the closing scenes with Ned, his mother, and the detectives at Carl's grave sight placing the POW bracelets near the headstone. It was one of Cold Case's trademark full circle moments and it worked really well last night. Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention John Finn's excellent display of talent last night. He navigated Stillman through all the old wounds and feelings beautifully. His interrogation scene with Ken was first rate. Overall, a good outing.

Without A Trace tinkered with its format for one episode last week, and it worked. As loyal viewers, we're so used to seeing every missing persons case through the eyes of the agents who are charged with finding them. As much as I love these characters, it was nice to change things up for an episode and give us the worried parents perspective. I tend to be a fan of format changes as long as it's only for an episode and not long term. Guest star Laurie Metcalf shone as the frantic parent of the missing 15 year old. She went from worried to heartbroken when she thought they'd found her son's body to frantic to relieved when he was found alive. It was interesting to see the agents whispering about the case, but the viewers not aloud to hear just as the parents were not. We usually have the omniscient perspective, but here we were limited and only learned about details as the parents did. When the agents informed the parents that they believed that their son was involved with drugs, I had the same reaction as the parents - how did they make that connection? It was nice to find out that he was not into drugs, but rather helping a friend in a bad situation. The different perspective allowed the audience to see things the way the families see them, and we were able to understand the feeling of "they're not doing enough to find our son." Usually, we're clued in to every step the agents take, so we know that they're doing everything humanly possible. Again, I thought this was an excellent episode and a welcome edition to a (so far) first rate season of this show.

About Last Night... CBS started out the night on top with the late running 60 Minutes and the beginning of Cold Case, followed by ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and NBC's movie The Poseidon Adventure. At 9, ABC took over first place with Desperate Housewives, followed by the end of Cold Case and the beginning of the holiday movie Snow Wonder on CBS and NBC's movie. The final hour of the night went to ABC for Grey's Anatomy, followed by CBS's movie and NBC's movie. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - Laura and Rich race against time to get the submersible to the surface as they realize that the unknown creature is laying eggs all around them on NBC's Surface.

@9 p.m. - Michael gets proof that his escape plan will work while the others try to keep T-Bag behind bars on Fox's Prison Break. Over on NBC, a comic convention hits the Montecito and one of the staffers will not survive this episode of Las Vegas.

@10 p.m. - Medium goes 3-D on NBC as Allison tries to make sense out of her new found ability to see art in new depths. I know it's a huge stunt, but I'll be there 3-D glasses and all tonight and here tomorrow telling you all about it because I'm a trooper (and a total sucker!).


*Dying to know more about ABC's Lost? Well, Verizon Wireless's V-Cast subscribers will get an opportunity early next year. The popular television show will release video diaries featuring survivors of the crash of Flight 815 that haven't been featured on the show. ABC says the diaries are an "extension" of the show. Executive Producer Damon Lindelof says there will be at least 22 different diaries, all of which will also be featured on the show's second season DVD set. Look for the diaries to make their debut on a Verizon phone near you starting in January.

*And finally, it's TV on DVD Monday! Look for the 3rd season of CSI: Miami on shelves tomorrow along with The Best of American Idol (seasons 1-4), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (best of season 1) and The Andy Griffith Show (season 4). For a complete list of tomorrow's releases, visit

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the special Medium in 3-D edition!! Gather up your special glasses and pop your favorite popcorn and watch Allison's vision as you've never seen them before! Plus, all the latest television news.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hannah has a Change of Heart, Syd Gets to the Bottom of Things, and Gil Goes to the Brass

So, the big news today is that Hannah is staying in Everwood. Not that I thought she was leaving permanently, but I was surprised that there wasn't big exit scene this week (with a return scene in a future episode). I know her mom needs her, but I think Hannah made the right decision. She may have been running away from her problems when she left Minnesota, but she found happiness and relationships that she was missing back home. The character has been such an asset to the show, and she has helped Amy's character grow and mature, not to mention the wonders she has done for Bright. Honestly, I can't imagine Everwood without her. So, yeah, I got a little weepy when she said goodbye and broke up with Bright. I also got a little teary eyed when Amy admitted how much losing Hannah was going to affect her. Luckily, there was the HI-larious "Extreme Andy" and "Extreme Harold" storyline to quell any stray tears. Actually, I think this story caused more tears, just of the wetting-my-pants laughing variety. As if those two planning to sky dive together to prove they're both risk takers wasn't funny enough, they give us that awesome scene in the general store where Andy convinces Harold to shoplift a 25 cent pack of gum! I almost died when he started running for the door! LOVED Andy's "put it on my bill" comment. If Harold only knew! The irony between the Andy/Harold storyline and Jake's extreme bike ride (which triggered Andy and Harold's "extreme" behavior) was well played. Mr. Extreme takes his friend down an uncharted mountain bike course, and his friend ends up losing the use of his lower body after hitting a rock and crashing. It seems that Jake does not deal with hardship well, either. I knew we were going to see the return of the pills. Things are getting interesting with his relationship with Nina anyway. Another strong, emotional and hilarious episode.

Syd finally got some of the answers that she has been longing to discover last night on Alias. Dean's organization, Prophet 5, seems to be a collaborative effort between agencies within 12 different countries. She would have learned more had Sloane not eliminated Dean before Syd got there to retrieve the passcode for the server holding the pertinent info. One minute, Sloane is good and the next he's bad again. I guess his overall motivation is Nadia, so he does whatever is necessary to try to save her. Kelly has turned out to be worse than her former boss Dean, and even more ruthless. She had him killed so she could gain control over the unit. I liked Sydney and Jack's crib adventure. So funny when it wouldn't fit through the door. I was so happy when Rachel took out Dean! She pounded him with that shovel, which led to APO's capture and information collection. Way to go Rachel! The girl is finally getting some confidence and skills. This Prophet 5 mystery has me very intrigued, especially since we learned that it involves various country's governments. I'm really enjoying the overarching storylines this season, and I thought that last night was another strong episode.

Damn you CSI! You are not supposed to make me all teary eyed! That job belongs to the likes of Everwood and Cold Case! You're supposed to be the show that I can count on to sit back and enjoy a "fun" hour of television, not a weepy one! Last night, the tears reared their ugly head when Captain Brass attended the slain officer's memorial and the dead officer's pregnant widow hugged him. Just seeing the little girl who is now fatherless was enough to start the waterworks. The only other episode that I can remember getting teary eyed at was the one from earlier this season with the murdered family and the missing little girl, so now this show has gotten me twice! I found the entire two-part episode to be very emotional. Sofia was a complete mess. I so didn't want the friendly fire shooter to be either Brass or Sofia, but it was more of a shock to learn that it was Brass. I had a hard time understanding why the other cops were so quick to shun him. Accidents happen, especially in a huge fire fight where multiple people die. The cops were lucky to not have lost more than one. Of course, it's a complete tragedy that the one was killed by one of his own and not the bad guys, but Brass was trying to shoot the fleeing suspect and he made a bad shot. Definitely an emotional episode for a show that usually stays on the lighter side, but it is nice to see them mix it up a bit. No worries anyway, it looks like next week's episode is very typical CSI fare.

About Last Night... CBS won the first hour of the night with Survivor, followed by NBC comedies Joey and Will & Grace and Alias on ABC. At 9, CBS once again landed on top with CSI, followed by The Apprentice on NBC and Primetime on ABC. In an interesting development, the WB's Everwood took fourth ahead of Fox's Reunion. The final hour of the night went to CBS's Without A Trace, followed by ER on NBC and Primetime on ABC. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - Bernie puts the kids on lockdown during tonight's The Bernie Mac Show on Fox.

@9 p.m. - CBS's Close to Home continues its Friday night trial run tonight as Annabeth discovers that an open and shut hit and run accident is more murder than accident.

@10 p.m. - A dangerous meth lab explosion ends the life of one of Megan's agents on CBS's Numb3rs.

@8 p.m. - Lilly and the team reopen the 1972 death of a former POW after his dogtags are found in an abandoned drug house on CBS's Cold Case (you know the routine, it might start late due to football). Also, as reported here earlier this week, Broadway's Tracie Thoms joins the cast.

@9 p.m. - Susan's mom gets married and the residents of Wisteria Lane get spooked when they learn that there is an intruder on the loose on ABC's Desperate Housewives. Over on CBS, Christmas comes early as the eye network rolls out its first holiday movie of the season. Without A Trace's Poppy Montgomery and CSI's Eric Szmanda join Mary Tyler Moore, Camryn Manheim, Jennifer Esposito and Jason Priestly for Snow Wonder, which is based on the short story by Connie Willis. In the movie, a snow storm brings miracles to people all over the country.

@10 p.m. - Thanksgiving brings difficult times for the doctors of ABC's Grey's Anatomy. Izzie worries about who will show up for her dinner at Meredith's, George endures the family tradition of turkey hunting and Meredith treats a patient who has been in a vegetative state for 16 years.


*It seems that NBC's Three Wishes used up its last one. According to TV the network is canceling the reality heartwarmer after it recently ordered additional episodes. The cancellation is due to the show's high production costs and slumping ratings since CBS moved Close to Home up against it according to Variety. The last episode is expected to air next month.

*Fox is adding more characters to its hit thriller 24 when it returns early next year. Actors Julian Sands, Peter Weller and JoBeth Williams will all be a part of the cast for the show's fifth season. The show kicks off with a four-hour, two night event on Sunday, January 15th and Monday, January 16th.

*And finally, ABC is moving Alias to Wednesday nights for the two weeks before it goes on hiatus to accommodate star Jennifer Garner's pregnancy. The move pushes Invasion off of ABC's schedule for the two week period. That show will return December 21st. The network hopes the post-Lost timeslot will breathe some life into Alias, which has seen its numbers decline from over 10 million viewers last season to only 7 million this season. The change goes into effect on December 7th.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in Monday for Cold Case (how will new girl #2 fit in with the show?), Without A Trace (did the change in perspective for this episode work or was it too different?), and Desperate Housewives (how funny is this wedding going to be?). Plus, all the latest television news, About Last Night and Primetime Pass!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Veronica's Adventures in Babysitting! Plus, the Tale of the Tailies and Your Requests Answered!

Buckle your seatbelts and hold on tight because this edition of Pass the Remote is fully loaded and revved up with plenty of extras! I've even got a section devoted to your requests! But before we get to those, let's talk about last night's awesome display of television. Do you ever watch Veronica Mars and just sit there and marvel at the way it can cover so much ground and so many different, important things in a single hour without cheating anything? Usually, when a show jams that much stuff into an episode, it ends up never fully developing any of the plots and the viewers are left feeling a little cheated and empty. I paid special attention to Veronica's fantastic ability to avoid this pitfall last night so I could try and figure out how this show covers so many storylines so well, but I couldn't figure it out no matter how hard I tried. The show is just a freak of television, and I mean that in the best way. How funny was Kendall's reaction to being cheated out of Dick senior's money? I loved how she tried to play nice with Logan just so he would be her sugar daddy. When that didn't work, she moved on to Duncan. Okay, time for a poll. How many of you think Duncan behaved himself and sent Kendall and her "hot" (his word) naked self out of his room? How many of you think something happened? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Speaking of Duncan, I'm dying to know what was in that envelope that he pulled out of Meg's vent! Anyway, on to the Veronica-helps-Logan storyline. So, shady plastic surgeon man is posing as the eye witness to Logan's mishap with Weevil's gang, but why? Veronica thought she had followed said plastic surgeon to a normal cigar shop, but later found out through good old dad that the shop was a front for a drug ring. Is shady plastic surgeon a part of it? Maybe Weevil's gang found out and decided to black mail the not-so-good doctor. Or, maybe he was legitimately buying some cigars. Logan's mystery deepens. How creepy were all the families that Veronica babysat for? That one father and his weird comments after seeing Veronica out was just bizarre. Turns out, Meg's abuse investigation hit closer to home, like the room next store. Her younger sister Grace was forced to live in a small room adjacent to her closet and write "righteous" statements in composition books. I'm glad Lamb seems to be on the case. Hopefully, he'll do more with this than the little to no effort he has put into the bus investigation. Man, this show is so good, it boggles the mind!

Was anyone else slightly disappointed in the tale of the tailies last night on Lost? The previews made this look really interesting, but I didn't realize that all the interesting scenes were in the previews. I found it a little slow. I don't know, maybe it was that extra four minutes of commercials, I mean, show. The days flew by, but there were some days that they showed us where nothing really happened. Well, let's not dwell on the negative and move on to the positive instead. So, Ethan wasn't the only imposter, as we learned last night that the tailies had Goodwin. Ana-Lucia jumped to the wrong conclusion when she assumed the imposter was Nathan, but she did get some interesting information from Goodwin. He suggested that "The Others" may not be taking survivors to do them harm. He also told her that they are only taking the "good" people, hence the reason for the children. Have we been wrong about "The Others" all along? Probably not after seeing Goodwin snap Nathan's neck without blinking an eye. We also learned that one of "them" was carrying a U.S. Army knife that was at least twenty years old. If you think back to the Dharma Initiative, you'll remember that it started in 1980, twenty-five years ago. Coincidence? Probably not on this show. Oh, and remember Boone's cryptic message when he used the radio he found on a crashed plane? Well, now we know where that came from! Interesting forethought on the writers' part. I thought this episode added some more insight into Ana-Lucia's character, whom I know a lot of you are hating. She has been through a lot, and that's just from what we know about her life on the island. The producers are promising us an upcoming Ana-Lucia episode, so I'm sure we'll learn even more in the coming weeks.

I've gotten some requests from you, the readers, lately, and as a full service blog, Pass the Remote feels that it is only right that it fulfills said requests. Think of it as the NBC heart warmer Three Wishes in blog form. Anywho, some of you wanted to see recaps of Gilmore Girls episodes, and since I don't usually get a chance to catch this show, I've decided to provide you with an easy link to TV Guide's Watercooler page. This is what they had to say about this week's episode (it goes without saying, but skip this recap if you haven't seen the episode and don't want to know what happens):

In many ways, this homecoming ep was hardly a surprise. If you paid attention to the teasers, you knew Rory would be coming back home. And if you read any of the spoilers, you knew Luke would find out he has a daughter. But you know what? It really doesn't matter. It's the way these stories unfold and reveal themselves that has us totally addicted. Who would ever guess that April would seek out Luke not for a relationship but for a middle-school science experiment about DNA? (In true hangdog fashion, Luke looked completely blindsided when he saw his mug circled on her poster board. Helluva way to find out you're the daddy of a brainy 12-year-old.) And while we knew Rory was tip-toeing closer and closer back to Lorelai and Stars Hollow, I loved the confidence and the poise of her final leap. Who else but Rory Gilmore could land a great job because she patiently sat in the lobby every day with her gigantic portfolio (all three of them), and worked it every time the editor-in-chief walked by? And they weren't even hiring! Her confidence has returned, she's enrolled at Yale and she's mended her relationship with her mother. Everything is right with the world. Sort of. There's this matter with Luke and the kid. (Nothing says "let's get married" quite like "hey, I have a child I didn't know about!") And then there's Emily. During my favorite scene of the hour, she confessed to pushing both Lorelai and Rory away. (A confession that occurred mid-purchase of a private jet, mind you. But I'll take it.) Instead of telling her that she deserved it, that she was a horrible mother for throwing her out of the house when she got pregnant, leaving her to raise Rory alone, then snatching her away the first chance she got, Lorelai paused. Turned around. And quietly said, "You haven't lost me." Totally unexpected. Totally surprising. Wow, what a great show. — Robin Honig

Again, that recap is from Another thing that you guys are buzzing about is this upcoming episode of Medium in 3-D. All of the TV Guide subscribers received one free pair of 3-D glasses with the latest issue, but what if you have more than one person in your house that enjoys Medium and doesn't want to miss out on the 3-D fun? Well, NBC's web site isn't much help I'm afraid. It instructs you to visit a special Sprint promotional event in your city for a free pair, but the list of cities is severely lacking! A visit to Sprint's web site doesn't provide any help.Unfortunately, TV Guide's web site isn't any help either. It appears that the only way to get another pair is to buy NBC merchandise and receive a free pair, but there's certainly no guaranteee you'll receive them in time, or you can run out to your local newsstand and purchase another copy of the November 21st edition of TV Guide. The best option might be to record the episode and take turns with the single pair TV Guide provided. I have to wonder what happens to all the people who don't subscribe to TV Guide and didn't want to buy an issue just for the glasses? And you guys wonder why I'm not the biggest fan of gimmicks.

About Last Night... CBS captured the first hour of the night with its special Johnny Cash tribute, I Walk the Line, followed by NBC's E-Ring and ABC comedies George Lopez and Freddie. At 9, ABC's Lost easily won, followed by CBS's Criminal Minds and Fox's Trading Spouses. UPN's Veronica Mars landed in fifth, in front of the WB. The final hour of the night went to CBS's CSI: NY, followed by Law & Order on NBC and Invasion on ABC. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - Syd and the rest of APO work to uncover whom Gordon Dean works for while Sloane fights the group that claims to have the cure for Nadia on ABC's Alias. Over on UPN, Julius finds $200 worth of food stamps, but Rochelle is too embarrassedd to use them on Everybody Hates Chris. Taylor causes a major rift between Seth and Summer on Fox's The O.C.

@9 p.m. - CBS's CSI wraps up its excellent two-part episode involving a shoot out with cops and suspects. Tonight, the evidence points more and more toward a case of friendly fire. Over on the WB, Amy and Bright prepare for Hannah's impending departure, Jake takes a high-risk bike trip with a friend, Reid keeps his promise to Ephram, and Harold and Andy do something completely unexpected on Everwood.

@10 p.m. - The team searches for a missing 15 year old boy, but this episode of CBS's Without A Trace is different from others. Instead of the usual format where the episode is told through the perspective of the agents, this one is told through the parents of the missing boy. Over on NBC, it's the biggest stunt to ever stunt as the ER doctors find themselves dealing with the aftermath of a plane crash. John Stamos guest stars.


*Neptunesite is reporting (via E! Online's Kristin Vietch) that former Xena actress Lucy Lawless is signed on for a guest appearance on Veronica Mars. She'll play an FBI agent that comes to Neptune to investigate a kidnapping case. The episode, entitled "Donut Run," is penned by none other than Veronica creator/executive producer himself, Rob Thomas. The episode is scheduled to air January 18th. If you want more information on the appearance and episode, click on either link above, but be warned you might be spoiled.

*ABC is shuffling its post Monday Night Football midseason schedule. The network will keep reality show Wife Swap at 8 p.m., followed by two comedies, and closing with the new season of The Bachelor. The two comedies include new show Emily's Reasons Why Not and the second season of John Stamos' Jake In Progress. The former stars Heather Graham as a self-help author who rarely takes her own advice. Missing from the schedule is the Barry Watson drama What About Ben, which also stars Rosanna Arquette. The show centers around a 30ish guy (Watson) who is the only remaining single among his group of friends. The network says the show is still in play for 2006, but it hasn't found a slot for it yet.

*And finally, actor Danny Devito is returning to television. He's joining the cast of the FX comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He'll play a successful contractor and father of Dennis and Sweet Dee who moves to the city to recapture his youth and spend more time with his children. Devito's last stint on the tube was 30 years ago when he played the legendary Louie DePlama on Taxi. Look for Devito to begin is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia role next season on the cable comedy.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Alias (will APO discover who's above Dean and why they do what they do?), CSI part II (is Sofia guilty of friendly fire?), and Everwood (will we get all weepy when Bright and Amy say goodbye to Hannah? And what shocking thing are Andy and Harold up to?). Plus all the latest television news!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Ripped From the Headlines 'SVU!' Plus 'Lost' and 'Veronica' Previews!

Let me just start off by saying that I really missed The Amazing Race last night. I guess this is the reason we got the two-for-Tuesday special last week, but I would have rather had one last week and one this week if not for the CMAs. Oh well, it gives me an opportunity to go a little more in depth with last night's Law & Order: SVU, which is good because there was a lot going on in this episode. Have you ever noticed that this show sometimes has the The Simpsons storytelling method? Before you all look at me like I'm crazy, let me explain. The Simpsons starts off with one thing (say, an undercooked steak at a restaurant), and manages to take you on a journey that lands you somewhere completely different (like, Homer ends up in a chicken suit), and yet somehow the show does it without skipping a beat or causing you to pause and wonder how you went from a steak dinner to a chicken suit. When you finish the episode, you find yourself contemplating how they made it all work so well. The same thing often happens on SVU. Take last night's episode. We went from a man raping three women to speed dating, a bulimic alcoholic girlfriend, a jailhouse marriage and then to Terry Schiavo. After the episode finished, I tried to retrace how we got from point A (the man raping three women) to point B (Terry Schiavo) so seamlessly. This is definitely one of this show's strengths.

Dean Cain, fresh off his stint as Scott Peterson in the made-for-TV movie, once again played a bad guy. Not only was he a rapist, but he was also a control freak, a sadist toward his way too loyal girlfriend, a cheater and a money grubber. It was sad to see how loyal Cora was because of her extremely low self esteem. Cain's character was exactly the type of guy that someone like Cora would gravitate toward. He controlled everything, including her testimony against him. He married her to collect the insurance policy when she accidentally offed herself. He knew she could drink herself into a stooper if he told her that he was going to kill himself, and it worked. Because of Cora's prior problems with bulimia, she had a weakened heart and wound up in a vegetative state. This set up the Terry Schiavo storyline. Husband of one week Jergens (Cain) wanted to take Cora off the machines because he said it was her wishes, but her mother of thirty years did not. Just as in real life, the husband won and Cora was taken off the machines that sustained her life. The difference between real and fiction in this case was that Cora's mom got two doses of closure. First, she found out, as was the case with Schiavo, that her daughter was well beyond recovery. Second, she learned from an old newspaper article that her daughter did say that she did not want to live on machines.

Olivia's speed dating experience to expose the serial rapist was fun. Cain's character was so smooth at the speed dating meeting and on the later date. How many of you wanted to scream when he insisted on ordering Liv's drink for her, even though it wasn't what she wanted? Very annoying. He was so predictable, too, when he secretly followed her back to her apartment. Once Munch and Fin caught him, he continued with his smooth talking. The guy had an answer for everything! And now he gets to sit back and collect the $1.5 million life insurance policy he took out on Cora the day he married her. Overall an interesting episode, although I'm not a big fan of the "Ripped from the Headlines" gimmick.

About Last Night... CBS won the first hour of the night with its telecast of the 39th Annual Country Music Awards, followed by The Biggest Loser on NBC and Bones on Fox. At 9, the CMAs continued to dominate for CBS, followed by a close race between ABC's Commander In Chief and Fox's House, with the former coming out on top. The final hour of the night went to the CMAs as well, followed by Law & Order: SVU on NBC and Boston Legal on ABC. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - JT battles a radical Christian group in Detroit that takes over a Mosque and holds the members hostage on NBC's E-Ring.

@9 p.m. - The best hour on television brings us two intriguing episodes of the best shows on TV. On ABC, we learn what happened during those days after the crash for the people in the tail section of the plane during a special hour and four minute episode (9 p.m. - 10:04 p.m.) of Lost. Over on UPN, Veronica and Duncan learn that Meg had been babysitting an abused child and they work to discover the child's identity on Veronica Mars. Also, Charisma Carpenter and Steve Guttenberg reprise their respective roles.

@10 p.m. - Muriel makes a shocking discovery in the water and Dave learns who the wedding band belongs to on ABC's Invasion, which will start four minutes late due to Lost's runover. Over on CBS, a poker game turns deadly after one member is caught cheating on CSI: NY.


*Sci Fi channel is ordering another season of its critically acclaimed show Battlestar Galactica. The entire principle cast will also return. The show has not only garnered critical success, but also the crucial ratings success as it averages 3 million viewers a week. Look for the show to return with its current season early next year.

*And finally, it's Nielsen Wednesday! CBS took the total viewer and 18-49 year old crowns last week, followed by ABC. The eye network was led by CSI (#1), Without A Trace (#4), CSI: NY (#7), Survivor (#8), CSI: Miami (#9), NCIS (#10) and Cold Case (#11). ABC's Desperate Housewives (#2), Monday Night Football (#3), Lost (#5) and Grey's Anatomy (#6) rounded out the top 10. For the full top 20 programs, visit USA Today.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for thoughts on Lost (what types of dangers did the tailies face?) and Veronica Mars (is this episode as creepy as its preview?). Plus all the latest television news!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Laura & Rich Find Themselves Way Below the 'Surface!' Plus, Allison's Vision Isn't What She Thinks!

So, I know everyone isn't exactly into Surface, but you're going to have to trust me when I tell you that it had its best episode so far last night. I know that's not saying a lot for a show that rarely find itself on the right side of the critics' corners, but it was very well done. What this show lacks in dialogue, characters and overall plausibility, it certainly makes up for in suspense, adventure and intensity. After all, despite Lost's "best show" status and loads of enamored fans (and I include myself in this category), it also relies on its audience to take a leap of faith and throw plausibility out the window. I'm not suggesting that Surface is on the same level as Lost, just that the former doesn't ask you to suspend reality any more than the latter. What made last night's episode really shine was the return to the sea. The show is centered around the ocean and what lies beneath the deep waters, so sending Rich and Laura down to investigate during a major yearly event in the life of this creature made since, but it also made for some great drama. Yes, it was a bit cliche, but I can overlook it because it literally kept me at the edge of my seat for the entire final 20 minutes or so when Laura and Rich descended into depths of the ocean. Everything was going fine until the window started its slow leak, which the pair decided to ignore for the sake of knowledge. As the makeshift submersible went deeper, the creatures came into view. They sent one of their deafening electronic pulses, which cut the radio and all other electric devices onboard and halted the electric cable on the barge that served as Laura and Rich's only link to the surface. Things got even dicier when the cable started unwinding very quickly, sending Laura and Rich into a frightening descent to the ocean floor, where a glowing opening that radiated heat was closely approaching. The submersible landed on the edge, but the weight of the two ton cable soon pulled it down into the hole. And of course, that's how the episode ended. We got to see more of the grown creature, and the writers further developed Savannah's character. When the show first began, she was a cookie cutter popular high school girl who lived to see her brother (Miles) in trouble, but she has become more real. They have given her heart, and I've found myself liking the character now. I really think that Surface is the type of show that improves the more it stays on the air. Luckily, NBC is willing to take the same gamble because they gave it a full season order.

Speaking of NBC, fellow Monday night show Medium also had an excellent night. I liked the way the writers showed us what can happen if Allison misinterprets a vision. She saw the "future" political ad for her boss's opponent, and jumped to the conclusion that the young man in the ad really raped and killed a woman. Going on this assumption, she enlisted the help of the always eager Detective Scanlon to track down the supposed murderer in order to prevent the future crime, but they ended up really messing things up in the process. The kid saw Scanlon and ran, but he ran into traffic and got hit by a car. Turns out, the kid was dating the woman that Allison saw in her vision, and the kid thought Scanlon was his girlfriend's ex. In the end, Allison and Scanlon figured it out, but it was interesting to see how this misinterpretation affected Allison. She was really torn up about what happened. Elsewhere, Joe ran into an old girlfriend, and Allison saw them in bed together, which prompted a fight because apparently, Joe had neglected to mention this woman in past discussions. Only one more week until the huge ratings stunt that is Medium 3-D, and I couldn't be more excited!! And yes, "sucker" is written on my forehead!

About Last Night... ABC won the first hour of the night with Wife Swap (football on the West Coast), followed by CBS comedies King of Queens and How I Met Your Mother and Surface on NBC. At 9, ABC stayed on top with Monday Night Football, followed by CBS comedies Two and a Half Men and Out of Practice and NBC's Las Vegas. The final hour of the night went to CBS's CSI: Miami, followed by football on ABC and Medium on NBC. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - Rory and Lorelai finally turn a corner and Luke gets the shock of his life on WB's Gilmore Girls. Over on Fox, its modern mummies, drugs and the death of a local musical artist on Bones. CBS airs the 39th Annual CMA Awards and ABC has a special night and time airing of sitcom Hot Properties.

@9 p.m. - Sela Ward guest stars on Fox's House as the good doctor works with a pro cyclist who admits to using performance enhancing drugs. Over on My Name is Earl on NBC, Earl learns about Joy's wedding through Randy's invitation that instructs him to bring anyone but Earl.

@10 p.m. - Alan and Denny challenge each other to get MRIs and the firm tackles a case involving a plastic surgeon accused of injecting fat from his own behind into a woman's lips on ABC's Boston Legal. Over on NBC, a wife of a serial rapist falls into a coma and her husband must decide her fate on Law & Order: SVU. Dean Cain guest stars.


*CBS will offer a bonus scene from hit show CSI: Miami exclusively on its web site. The scene will follow a storyline introduced during the November 21st episode, and it will debut immediately following the East Coast broadcast of the show. The eye network promises that the scene is pivotal to the course of events that will take place the rest of the season. For more information on the bonus scene and the episode (including spoilers), click on over to The Futon Critic.

*And finally, there's good news for NBC's E-Ring. The peacock picked up the Pentagon drama for a full season after improved ratings in its earlier timeslot. The show is averaging around 9 million viewers an episode and saw its biggest audience to date with last week's episode. The series stars Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Law & Order: SVU (what's up with Dean Cain playing bad guys?) and the lowdown on new episodes of Veronica Mars and Lost in Primetime Pass! Plus, all the latest television news!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Downside to Good Manners, 'Without A Trace,' and Scotty Finally Lets Go

How many of you were watching Desperate Housewives last night and thinking how much better this episode was than the others so far this season? Yeah, me too, and it's all thanks to series creator Marc Cherry. Yes, we finally got a script last night penned by the man himself, Marc Cherry. The difference was quite noticeable because that dark, sardonic humor was back, loose ends were tied, and the characters were back to their more likeable and hilarious selves. I found myself actually liking Susan again, instead of wanting to wring her neck. Edie, as usual, delivered some of the best lines of the night. I LOVE that she thinks that Carl came back to her after talking with Susan. That entire scene was hilarious from top to bottom with Edie barely able to thank Susan for "helping Carl" and Susan's quiet satisfaction in knowing that Carl only went back to Edie because he couldn't have Susan! Classic Desperate Housewives! It was nice to have a week off from Lynette-goes-to-work. She and the twins were back and up to their usual antics. The sex tape neighbors were great, and Tom and Lynette's willingness to forgive just about anything in order to get some free time without their kids was priceless! I was laughing out loud at this storyline, especially the "professional shoot!" Gabby cracked me up as usual with her dress ordeal. After all that heartache with the dress, her friends walk in and know immediately that she's pregnant. As I was watching this episode, I started to get a feeling that the writers were going to have Gabby lose the baby, but I wasn't expecting her tumble down the stairs. I don't know whether she lost the baby, but it did seem that way. George was even creepier this week, and Bree granted herself a reprieve with her decision to "stay engaged for a while." I loved the scene at her therapist where she tells him that she said yes to George because it would have been impolite to say no with his mother and her friend looking on. Her reply to her therapistÂ’s shock that she said yes because of good manners ("I knew there was a downside to good manners") was hysterical! I can't believe George knocked the therapist off the bridge! I guess he'll kill anyone who gets between him and Bree. Total psycho! Overall, this episode was such a HUGE step in the season one direction, and very enjoyable. I wanted to scream up and down and shout that Desperate Housewives was back!

It has been a great week for me in the television arena. Not only was Desperate Housewives back to its original form, but there was the spectacular Cold Case return and the new life breathed into fellow procedural Without A Trace. The latter had another strong outing Thursday night. I watch several crime shows, so I'm pretty immune to most of the gruesome and disturbing storylines that they cover, but the child pornography episodes never cease to disturb me. It's just so atrocious and sickening because you know that it really goes on. I found myself going back and forth with Gordon Klapp's character. Deep in my heart, I knew he wasn't apedophilee, but I kept getting suspicious because the FBI agents doubted him. I know that going undercover must have made Jack sick because of his own daughters, but finding Melissa and getting her out of that horrible world made it all worth it. I was surprised to learn that Delgado has a daughter as well. She has made some really nice catches in the few weeks that she has been on the show, and last week's barn pictures was no exception. I definitely think that the character is an asset to the show.

Well, Cold Case had big shoes to fill after its excellent outing last week, so I wasn't going to hold it against the show if it came up short. Luckily, the show was once again strong and back to its usual wonderful self. Instead of an emotional Lilly sidestory, we got a Scotty one.. I was concerned about this impending storyline when I read about it over the summer because I didn't see the sense in dragging up the whole Elisa thing again, but I should have trusted the show and its writers. Scotty was so desperate to make sense of Elisa's death that he was grasping at straws. I thought for a moment in the interrogation that the suspect might have been responsible for Elisa's death as well, but Scotty's expression changed and I knew this was just false hope for him. I thought his scene with Stillman outside of police headquarters was nicely done. Scotty's closing scenes where he put Elisa's suicide letter in the river and watched the river carry it away just as it did Elisa was very poignant. It was so symbolic of him coming to terms with her death and letting it go. Danny Pino did an excellent job in this episode. In fact, this show is blessed with a very strong cast from top to bottom. The case was also well done. The writers didn't try to go for the shock value where they reveal the killer and we're all left scratching out heads because it doesn't make sense. They had gotten into a rut where they were using thistacticc in order to catch us off guard, and it just came across as weak writing. I knew Coleman was dirty all along, but I just wasn't sure how dirty. I was surprised to learn that it was Scott who actually carried out the murder, but he was definitely more ruthless than Amy. I found myself connecting to the victim, so I was bummed when they showed the final scene with Scott handing her thepoisonedd sports drink. I liked the subtle parallel to Lilly's life, and Lil's realization that she was similar to the Amy, and therefore, people see her in a similar light. This has been a constant theme throughout the season, and I like how they are carrying it out. I think we're going to see a lot of changes in her character this season, and I am excited to be along for the journey.

BREAKING NEWS!!! TV is reporting that actress Tracie Thoms is joining the cast of Cold Case as a new homicide detective. Thoms stars in the upcoming movie version of the Broadway musical Rent. She'll play a former narcotics cop who comes to homicide. Her first episode airs this Sunday, November 20th on CBS. I know what you're thinking because I'm thinking it too. Didn't we already get another homicide detective and it made the show too crowded? Yeah, I'm worried. The show has been at the top of its game the past couple of weeks without a sixth detective, so it bums me out that they're trying out this sixth detective idea again. I guess I don't understand this burning need to add another detective to the mix. The current cast is so strong, and they barely get enough personal stuff for their characters as it is with the show's procedural case solving structure. Hopefully, adding another character (again) won't hurt theintegrityy of the show as it did the last time they attempted this idea. What do you think? Is adding another detective going to make the show too crowded again? Are you just going to wait and see before deciding? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

About Last Night... CBS started out on top with Cold Case, followed by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC and Fox comedies The Simpsons and The War At Home. At 9, ABC's Desperate Housewives easily won the hour, followed by CBS's movie Category 7 and NBC's Saturday Night Live special. The final hour of the night went to Grey's Anatomy on ABC, followed by CBS's movie and NBC's special. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.

~Primetime Pass~
@8 p.m. - Laura, Rich, and Jackson work to build the submersible and rectify the many setbacks as they attempt to take it out to sea on NBC's Surface.

@9 p.m. - Michael receives a surprise visitor, which angers Lincoln and makes Captain Bellick even more suspicious on Fox's Prison Break. Over on NBC, the Montecito reviews its security measures in order to ensure that the Kashmir Sapphire is protected from theft while on loan at the casino on Las Vegas.

@10 p.m. - D.A. Devalos runs for office and Allison has a vision that could jeopardize both of their futures on NBC's Medium.


*ABC is pulling the plug on freshman drama Night Stalker. The show has only aired six episodes, but it struggled to find an audience up against CSI, the most watched show in primetime. Overall, the series averaged a little more than 5.5 million viewers. The cancellation is effective immediately, and ABC will fill the timeslot with an extended Primetime this week.

*Mandy Moore is checking in for a few episodes of NBC's Scrubs. The singer/actress will play a love interest for J.D, played by her real-life on-again/off-again love Zach Braff. Moore is set for two episodes so far. NBC has not set a premiere date for the show, but it is expected to return at mid-season.

*Smallville creators Miles Millar and Al Gough are developing a pilot for a new series about Aquaman for the WB. The pilot will be in much the same fashion as its superhero counterpart in that it will be set in present day and focus more on character development and less on superpowers. The series will follow the adventures of 20 year old Arthur Curry who becomes aware of his powers while figuring out his life on land.

*And finally, it's TV on DVD Monday! The tenth and final season of Friends hit shelves tomorrow as well as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the complete series!), Charmed (season 3), Frasier (season 7), Murder One (season 2), Scrubs (season 2) and Tru Calling (season 2). For the full release schedule, visit

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Medium (How will Allison deal with her dream about Joe cheating?). Plus all the latest television news!