Thursday, July 31, 2008

Morris' Hotplate Productions Sells Pilot

Kathryn MorrisBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

When you have Jerry Bruckheimer as a mentor, chances are you're going to become a pretty good producer yourself.

Cold Case star (and PTR Fave) Kathryn Morris, who landed a production company deal last year with Warner Brothers, has sold her first series pilot under her Hotplate Productions brand. It's based on Harry Hunsicker's popular Crosshairs novel.

And, just so this doesn't come as a shocker to Cold Case fans who may be apt to think "OMG! She's leaving the show to go produce stuff!!!!" ... relax. Morris has repeatedly mentioned in past interviews that she's interested in delving into other realms besides acting, not abandoning it altogether. She remains steadfastly committed to the CC team, but is nicely on her way spreading her wings into the producing realm.


Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck & Stacy Jenel Smith

NEW ADVENTURES: Kathryn Morris of "Cold Case" proudly reports that her fledgling Hotplate Productions outfit has sold a series pilot based on Harry Hunsicker's popular "Crosshairs" novel "through Warner Bros. It's a male-driven P.I. show. The main character is a heroic stud, a cool guy that I'm sure would live down the street from Lily Rush," she says, referring to her series character.

The beautiful blond leading lady says she's not planning to act in the prospective show — or any of the projects she's developing — "because of my commitment to 'Cold Case.' But I do have a cameo in a little film that's about to come out — 'Assassination of a High School President.' I play a naughty nurse in that. It was fun."

Knowing all too well the vicissitudes of an acting career — particularly for a woman in her late 30s — Morris has been determined to branch out into producing. She tells us, "I basically had a mentor in Jerry Bruckheimer, teaching me a formula of how to make a good television show from the script through crew, the casting — all the elements. That's why Jerry's shows look like no other in television," including "Cold Case," of course.


We do love Kathryn, but let's hope it's not too formulaic. Cold Case returns for its sixth season September 28th.

The Countdown Rolls On

This week, we're breaking the Top 20 with our summer-long countdown of the Best Episodes of the Season. Before we get to this week's entries, here's a look at the rules for this year's winners. LillyKat and I ended up with 36 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2007 and June 2008. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us with that "wow" feeling that stays with you for a few days. So basically, it's completely subjective! Since this is a summer-long countdown to the number 1 episode, we will reveal a few each week all summer. So, be sure to tune in every Thursday to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Today, we're going to take a closer look at numbers 21-19.

21: "Resistance is Futile" - Dexter
Again, we have to disclose that we technically did not cover the second season of Dexter here at PTR. But, since I did watch it on my own, went back and covered the first (as it aired on CBS), and will be covering the third, we felt it important to include a couple of key eps from Dex's second round. "Resistance is Futile" is one such ep. We now all know Sergeant Doakes has had it in for Dexter since Day 1. He's the only guy who ever actually suspects Dex of some weirdness. Throughout the second season, Doakes was out to get Dexter - especially once he was suspended off the force for harassing of Dex and/or then being accused as the Bay Harbor Butcher. So, in setting out to "get" Dexter, Doakes discovers Dex's true identity - Serial Killer Extraordinaire, the real Bay Harbor Butcher. The reveal (and subsequent confrontation) exploded in this episode, and so began Dex's keeping of Doakes hostage to protect his own identity - and his life. It was like we all had been waiting for this moment, and the moment did not disappoint. Nor did the episode. Written by Melissa Rosenberg. Directed by Marcos Siega. - LillyKat, PTR Senior Staff Writer

20: "Mummy in the Maze" - Bones
Nobody does murder quite as humorously as Bones. Of course, the systematic slaughtering of young girls and the gruesome disposal of their mummified remains at various Halloween venues isn't exactly slap your knee funny, but watching Booth and Bones work the case together is downright LMAO hilarious! Whether it was his (yes, his) fear of clowns, her ridiculous Wonder Woman costume (seriously though, the top -- or lack thereof) or everything in between, this Halloween-themed outing had a funny for every fancy. And how great was it that Bones tried to shoot the door open, but accidentally shot Booth in the arm instead?! Forget shooting yourself in the foot! Luckily, he let it slide and managed to shoot and kill the man responsible for the murders. And, he and Bones (in her Wonder Woman costume) managed to save another young girl in the process. It's all in a day's work for TV's best non-couple-couple crime fighting duo. Written by Scott Williams and directed by Marita Grabiak.

19: "May the Best Man Win" - Friday Night Lights
According to the medical textbooks, Jason is supposed to be sterile, but against all odds, he got a girl pregnant after a one-night stand. But, deciding what to do about it and how to feel about the shocking news was an even bigger challenge. And this was only one of the compelling story lines from this makeshift season finale. There was Smash's decision to "settle" for something he didn't want as a consequence of his public actions. Sure, playing football at a small off-the- grid college is not what he envisioned for his future, but at least he's back in a position to play the game he loves and possibly go to the NFL someday. Thanks to his super awesome mom, he'll land on his feet. And Coach Taylor will make sure he lands on a collegiate football field. Just to show that this series has a lighter side, the writers threw in a great quasi-love triangle story with Coach Taylor, Tami and her former flame. I'm not sure what cracked me up more -- seeing the jealous side of Eric or watching Kyle Chandler beat up real-life boss (and FNL showrunner) Peter Berg, who played the role so brilliantly. Written by David Hudgins and directed by Patrick Norris.

So, there's a look at the next set of episodes on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave us a comment with your thoughts. And be sure to tune in next Thursday for #18-16 on the list.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

High School Reunion

Having just attended a high school reunion (Mr. TVFan's, not mine), I found the subject matter of this week's Psych to be rather timely. Thankfully, no one was murdered at the one I attended, but at the same time, it wasn't quite as entertaining as this one. Everything is a trade off, I guess. Shawn has a hard enough time convincing the Santa Barbara police department that he has a psychic ability that helps him solve crimes (he doesn't), so convincing them that a murder took place when there's no body ("No body, no crime"), left him with quite the conundrum. Gus was so concerned about the reunion going off without a hitch (he planned it) that he refused to believe it. Lassie was on a date which turned into an arrest (fraud and identity theft). And Jules was preoccupied with her non-prom dress/prom dress (with a "slight poof") to help Shawn figure out who was murdered and by whom. Shawn's uncanny attention to detail won out once again and he solved the who and the by whom and managed to kiss the girl in the end. Apparently, that uncanny ability was not alive and well while he was in high school. He failed to notice that the school had a football team (which won a state championship while he was in school). Of course, that was due to the games being on Friday nights when Shawn was home watching Step By Step (how awesome was that reference, by the way?? I totally watched this show. It starred Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Sommers and they each had their own kids and they got married and became one big happy blended family. Now that I've typed this, it suddenly occurred to me that the premise was identical to The Brady Bunch -- how did I never notice this back in the 90s??!! And whatever happened to Patrick Duffy and everyone else on that show (minus Suzanne Sommers)?).

This episode also made great use of some classic 80s brat pack films. Pretty In Pink, The Breakfast Club and anything and everything starring Jud Nelson was well represented. Unfortunately for Shawn, the references were lost on his classmates and dad. Of course, Dad was a little distracted by his trip through the nostalgic halls of his alma mater and with his confusion over his feelings for his ex-wife. That steak scene was hilarious! And I couldn't believe Shawn needed him to call her back about that box! But having them show up at the reunion was too funny ("Nobody else's parents are here!"). Classic Psych!

Psych airs Friday nights on USA Network. Catch up on this episode and others at

Gish Gets 'Cleaner'

Annabeth GishBy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

'kay, this must be my week for swapped episode airings as it pertains to the third and fourth episodes of a series.

First, TNT switches up The Closer's third and fourth episodes ... sooooo, four becomes three and three becomes four.

Now, A&E has apparently done the same thing, swapping out episodes three and four, and thus, bumping up airing PTR Fave Annabeth Gish's guest appearance on their new series, The Cleaner, which stars Benjamin Bratt as William Banks, a recovering addict who helps others get clean by any means necessary as he struggles to maintain his own rocky personal life.

Is it me?

Anyhoooo, tipped off by our friends at All Things Annabeth, I happened to catch the ep last night. Suffice it to say, I think I've found a new favorite show. It could be here at PTR depending on how next week's ep goes (plus I have to go back and watch the first two eps ... oops, my bad).

It was fun seeing Annabeth portray a suburban housewife who is an OxyContin addict (we can tell her time on Brotherhood is rubbing off on her project choices - in a good way). As an extra super bonus, Damages Alum Tate Donovan is also guest starring alongside Annabeth in this ep as her husband.

How cool is that?

If you missed it (and heck, I bet you did), A&E will be re-airing the episode (titled "Meet the Joneses") at 10 p.m. on Friday, August 1st. But if you can't wait that long, head on over to A&E's The Cleaner Official Site and watch it online (it's now officially episode three)!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Field of Dreams(ing) on ‘Saving Grace’

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Let me start this Saving Grace recap with a digression …

It just so happens I’ve been watching a lot of Field of Dreams of late (part of a Kevin Costner Love Fest that my STARZ! Movie Channel is running throughout the month of July).

Now, I love this movie – loved it in 1989 when it was first released, still love it 20 years later. Remember when you had to pay $89.99 to buy a VHS tape of a newly released movie before it hit the $19.99 bargain price? Probably not (depending on how old you are), but hey, that was me with this movie (and I still have the original tape lying around somewhere).

Anyhoooooo, Field of Dreams is pretty much the only movie in which I can actually stand Kevin Costner (sorry, KC fans … he’s, like, the same in every movie, and I get bored with his monotone delivery of lines). That aside, the film itself is pretty darn good. It throws into question one’s beliefs about the Afterlife, Heaven, God. Or, in layman's terms, can one really build a baseball diamond in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa, have the ghosts of baseball’s past come play on it, and simultaneously reunite father and son for a never - got - to - say - goodbye - have - a - catch - moment?

In movies terms, yes. In real life, dunno.

It’s also got a fantastic supporting cast.

And that includes Amy Madigan.

So, imagine my surprise when Annie Kinsella herself (that would be Amy’s character from FoD) appeared as a guest star on this week’s episode of Saving Grace, playing the somewhat quirky, loopy wife of this week’s murder victim.

Hmmm, if Holly Hunter builds it, they will come?


Ed Ligardi was the evidence supervisor for the Grace squad, about ready to retire after 38 years, and not a super popular guy. Read: as entertaining as a doornail. When he turns up dead in the bathroom at the squad’s hangout whilst Grace and Ham are fooling around in a stall right as the murder happens, well … it gets interesting (like we said, this show hasn’t completely abandoned the wardrobe malfunctions). And when we come to find out it’s Madigan’s Gretchen, Ed’s wife, who is the prime suspect, well … it gets really interesting.

And genius.

I swear, Madigan’s portrayal of Gretchen was like some sort of cross-between Dustin Hoffman in Rainman and Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. That’s right folks … looks like ol’ Gretchy decided to cap Ed ‘cause hey, she didn’t want him home all the time, either. How she fooled everyone into thinking it wasn’t her was equally clever. Like, is she really crazy, or is she only pretending to be crazy? The closing scene made me think more along the lines of Hannibal Lecter than Raymond Babbitt.

As if Madigan’s appearance wasn’t ironic enough, this week had some serious focus on two recurring dreams that Grace and her convict - also - needs - a - last - chance - angel - cohort Leon Cooley are having simultaneously (compliments of Angel Earl, of course). In Leon’s dream, Grace is asking him for help. In Grace’s dream, Leon asking her for help.

Hmmm … perhaps we have some easing of his/her pain?

I’m telling ya’ … weird Field of Dreams / Saving Grace crossover moments happening in my living room last night.

Perhaps I’ll go the distance next?

Other highlights:

Ham Has a Bro’: We got introduced to Ralph Dewey this week, who is a First Lieutenant serving in the Marines in Iraq. Ham breaks his arm in a little arm-wrestling, bro’-on-bro’ macho action, but hey, trifles, right?

Ham Has a Place: Er, we think it is. Like, how small is that apartment? Clearly not on Detective Lilly Rush’s live - in - a - row - home in Philly salary, or Grace’s dump of a house salary (sorry, but she is a slob; and yet, at least she’s got a house). Poor Ham.

Pillow Talk with IA: Ooooohhhhh! Captain Kate is having a little somethin’ somethin’ with an IA investigator (played by the always good Steven Culp). This supports Lorraine Toussaint’s reveal to us during our visit to the set that Captain Kate does indeed get it on – one of her requests for her character this season. Go Lorraine, but watch out Kate.

New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT. You can watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site. You can also visit to share your stories of how you embrace your inner-Grace.

‘The Closer’ Sees Cherry Red

'The Closer' Returns for its Forth Season on TNT
By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

During our visit to the set of The Closer in June, the cast seemed awfully relieved to be done filming the episode “Cherry Bomb.”

Now I get why.

Kinda made you want to go punch something.

And take every teenage girl you know and say beware of arsewipe, cocky son-of-a-bi*tch dreamboat boys suddenly wanting to be your boyfriend.

They aren’t interested in you, and you can and will do better.

The ep (which aired last night but of which was originally supposed to be the fourth episode of the season) squashed the two weeks worth of humorous, insta-classic Closer moments that have wrung in the fourth season. If anything, this episode reminded me of last season’s “Ruby” (which came in on this year’s PTR Best Episode Countdown List at #34) – poignant, powerful and tough to watch.

And why The Closer remains one of the most compelling dramas on television.

The Case

A highly political one involving the son (Darren Yates) of a commander in the LA County Sheriff’s Office (Mark Yates, played brilliantly by Daniel Baldwin) who sexually assaulted a girl a week prior to her ending up dead from an apparent suicide. Now, as we know, BJ doesn’t investigate suicides, but since Commander Taylor took his sweet time investigating the assault (worrying too much about his political correctness and too little about victim Michelle Clark), he asks BJ to consider whether she may have been murdered since he, himself, no longer has a case now that Michelle is dead.

Oh, if only it were that simple.

Turns out slimeball arsewipe Darren and his friends invented a game called “Cherry Pickin’” whereby each put up $50 to see who could sleep with the most virgins by the end of the school year. He who picks the most cherries wins the cash.

And the fame.

And WTF else.

Complete with “LookIt” Page (read: MySpace-esque homage) with each girl’s picture adorned with a little cherry graphic.


Apparently, Darren had to really work to get Michelle’s cherry. And beat her to a pulp in the process.

Double ugh.

The Clever

We know how sexual assault cases go, don’t we? Never get convictions. He said, she said. Can’t get the victims to press charges. That is, of course, until Brenda Leigh Johnson steps onto the case, and uses her murder investigation to get the sexual assault confession.

Freakin’ genius.

I swear, I was literally cheering for this at the end, especially when it became clear Michelle really did commit suicide, and thus, Darren could not be put away for murder.

The Compelling

The entire episode.

It’s rare to see Brenda shaken up by a case, but this one got to her and found her even more steadfastly determined to nail Darren. How about that scene in the medical examiners room, going over Michelle’s badly beaten and bruised body … the close-up shot of Brenda’s face as she’s shown the mutilated lower nether-regions of Michelle … absolutely dead still … just.freaking.gripping.

From that point forward, you knew she would somehow, some way get the confession – even if every conceivable odd was stacked against her.

And that is why I love BJ.

Whether it was going toe-to-toe with Mark Yates (Daniel Baldwin), searching out another victim to get a tear-jerking account of how she was assaulted, or having to settle only for the assault conviction, she got Michelle justice in the end.

When arguably no one else would – or could – have (save for Detective Lilly Rush, perhaps).

And I don’t know what was more infuriating – the boys and their game, or the fact these girls fell prey to the game.

The closing sequence, with another Cherry Pickin’ victim coming back to Brenda’s office to change her mind and press charges … classic.

The Homage

I had visions of The Accused whilst watching this ep. If you’ve never seen that film, you should. Beware it is incredibly difficult to watch, but Jodie Foster earns every bit of her Best Actress Oscar®.

When BJ arrests the group of Cherry Pickin’ friends, I had visions of Kelley McGillis’ character going after all of the idiotbot men who cheered on the sexual assault of Jodie Foster’s character.

And she got justice in the end, too.

Thank. God.

Wait, is this PPD?

The only comical thing – and it was to me and me alone – was the fact that the interview room in which Commander Taylor first interviews Michelle (after her assault) looked an awful lot like Lil’s territory on Cold Case. I don’t know … lighting … angles … where the door was positioned … I swear Lil’ was going to come through the door any second saying, “I got this.”

Well, we got it.

And this is likely to be a favorite episode on PTR’s list for next year.

New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT. You can also watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Raph's Cheatin' Heart

How many times have I lamented the evils of network promos? How many times have I warned about their misleading ways, and yet, I wrote this in last week's In Plain Sight write-up:

"Of course, if next week's promo is any indication, then maybe Brandi should be given free range with Raph. Perhaps, she wouldn't jerk him around the way that Mary does."

I know, I know -- fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, yada yada yada. Is there a consolation prize for fool me a thousand times? No, well there should be because the nets have gotten my goat more times than I care to remember. Moving on... last week's promo showed Mary getting mighty friendly with a witness and I thought she was cheating on Raph (in my defense, this particular breed of promo was extremely tricky). Turns out, the scene from the ad was from Mary's past (about 13 months ago). Oops. To add insult to injury (as in, my bruised ego), turns out Raph's the cheater! Wow, did I get that one wrong. Thankfully, it wasn't with Mary's overeager sister. In Raph's defense, Mary did totally freak out and shoot him down, ignore him, and consistently fail to show up to take him to his appointments. She did realize this and decided not to get mad at Raph's indiscretion and declared that they were free to see other people (as long as Brandi isn't involved). Does this mean that Mary's free for Marshall? Something tells me that he hopes so and she wouldn't even consider it.

In Plain Sight airs Sunday nights on USA Network. If you missed this week's episode ("Good Cop, Dead Cop"), check it out for free at

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Comic-Con 2008: 'Chronicles' Panel; Early 'Heroes' Season Three; 'Lost' Hints

Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego, CABy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

We continue with our living - vicariously - through - fellow - blogger updates for the happenings of some of our PTR Faves on Saturday at Comic-Con 2008 ...

  • Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles

  • The T:SCC panel consisted of Lena Heady (Sarah Connor), Thomas Dekker (John Connor), Summer Glau (Cameron), Brian Austin Green (Derek Reese), Richard T. Jones (Agent Ellison), Garrett Dillahunt (bad terminator Cromartie), and new cast addition Shirley Manson, who'll be playing some sort of high-tech bad gal in pursuit of the evil Turk computer (we remember her as the "I'm Only Happy When It Rains" lead singer of the band, Garbage, right?)

    'Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles' at Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego, CAAccording to The TV Addict's report and Entertainment Weekly's recap, looks like season two will be a whopper.


    - Cameron Lives!: Okay, so we knew that was going to be true otherwise there'd be no show. Still, it's good to actually confirm this. I mean, is Summer Glau not the Best.Good.Terminator.Ever?

    - John Connor Beefs it Up: According to series creator, Josh Friedman, we're going to see a different John Connor this second go around. Although we here at PTR never quite viewed John as some sort of "mopey, PTSD-afflicted teen" (as EW describes), we do agree he was definitely under the thumb of ol' Sarah. Seems he'll be toughening up a bit as well as getting out from underneath mom's smotheristic approach to living. Not a bad thing, we think. But, we're hoping his "butching up" (as EW says) isn't going to take away some of his best qualities - which, for us, is his compassion and softer side. Part of being the leader of the free world is having a good balance of both. Then again, us girls here at PTR like the sensitive guys. Sue us, okay?

    - Death Watch: Apparently, Friedman sprung it on the cast that one of them will die in season two. Doh! Let's hope it won't be some sort of who-shot-JR thing.

  • Heroes Screens Third Season Premiere

  • In feeling as if last season's premiere let the fans down, series creator Tim Kring decided to give the lucky ones crammed into gi-mormous Hall H a surprise: a full screening of the third season premiere.

    Like, how cool is that?

    'Heroes' Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego, CAAccording to James Hibberd's The Live Feed, Kring is determined to make season three a strong one. And whilst some shows felt the creative sting of the infamous writer's strike (uh, see Cold Case), and turned in some less-than-stellar eps both before and after the strike, Kring said the break actually served to do the show some good from a creative perspective in addition to helping get fans ramped up for the new season.


    (courtesy James Hibberd's The Live Feed):

    - Kring wrote the episode "The Second Coming"; it's first entry in the show's fall book, which will be called "Villains."

    - At least one character without powers will gain a power, and at least one character presumed dead is not.

    - Hiro is given a new quest, and the premiere will also introduce a new “speedster" that Kring describes as Hiro’s nemesis.

    - Maya has returned, and she has a minor part of the episode.

  • Lost Drops Few Hints

  • Seems as though the Lost producers are taking a page from Where's Waldo? and Damages.

    'Lost' at Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego, CAAgain, according to James Hibberd's The Live Feed, when the fifth season begins, viewers won't quite know which end it up, or if they are watching a flashback or a flashforward.

    Hmmm, sounds a bit Damages-esque to me.

    Now, I don't actually watch Lost (that would be PTR Editor in Chief TVFan's domain), but I can say that if the Lost folks do anything near as good as Damages, viewers should be in for a treat.


    On whether Daniel Faraday and the other Oceanic survivors on the Zodiac raft will survive last season's finale, it seems that Faraday did. But apparently a monsoon is coming, says executive producer Carlton Cuse says. Soooo, the others ... no so much, eh?

Sources: The TV Addict, PopWatch Blog and The Live Feed

Friday, July 25, 2008

Comic-Con 2008: The 'Dexter' Panel

Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego, CABy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

So, those of us not lucky enough to be at Comic-Con 2008 are living vicariously through those who are - notably, our fellow bloggers in the television blogosphere.

The always entertaining Ducky over at Ducky Does TV has a fabulous re-cap of the Dexter panel (which, of course, if we were there, we would have made a bee-line for). There is talk of family values being the theme for the third season, with the evolution of Dex as a man being key (as opposed to, say, a monster). This should be interesting, and should provide for lots more of that fabulously clever who - am - I - really internal dialogue Dex is known for.

'Dexter' at Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego, CARead Ducky's full report on the Dexter panel from Comic-Con 2008! (*NOTE: if you don't want to be even remotely spoiled, don't read it).

Also, the good folks over at Showtime have created an exclusive Dexter Comic-Con page with lots of goodies, which includes the new preview for the third season (below).

Mark your calendars: September 28th is the date for the Season 3 premiere!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Countdown's Homeward Bound

And the Top 25 Best Episodes of the Season summer-long countdown rolls on with the next 3 episodes to make the cut. Before we get to this week's entries, here's a look at the rules for this year's winners. LillyKat and I ended up with 36 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2007 and June 2008. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us with that "wow" feeling that stays with you for a few days. So basically, it's completely subjective! Since this is a summer-long countdown to the number 1 episode, we will reveal a few each week all summer. So, be sure to tune in every Thursday to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Today, we're going to take a closer look at numbers 24-22.

24: "Next of Kin (Parts I & II)" - The Closer
The two-hour 2007 holiday special of The Closer sent us all RVing. Vicariously, anyway. Aptly titled “Next of Kin,” it was a cross between Where’s Waldo (er, Brenda, who headed to Georgia under the guise of "visiting" mom and dad for X-Mas, but really was trying to extradite a murder suspect), a Bing Crosby Christmas Special (thanks, Lieutenant Provenza for providing the musical entertainment aboard the RV) and a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie (‘cause I kind of felt all choked up at the end). And in the true spirit of the holiday season, Brenda and Co. gave us some serious food for thought: how often do we actually question her? Her methods? Her ways? And how much it all weighs on her in the end? Another CCC (Classic Closer Curveball) I did not see coming. I questioned Brenda’s actions for the first time ever. For BJ, this case hit her from both sides – personal values and professional responsibility. She had a job to do, but knew the process of how she went about doing that job this time out (lying to her parents, fudging the truth about the death of the murder suspect's brother in order to get him to confess) crushed her own family, and ultimately, made her question her own self. Yet she still emerged triumphant, if not substantially humbled trying to do the best she could whilst also being at fault. Part I written by Hunt Baldwin, John Coveny, Mike Berchem, and directed by Scott Ellis Part II written by James Duff, Adam Belanoff, Mike Berchem, and directed by James Duff. Photo: TNT. - LillyKat, PTR Senior Staff Writer

23: "There's No Place Like Home (Parts I, II & III)" - Lost
This was the big one -- as in, 3 hours big! Oh yeah, and it's also the one where the Oceanic 6 get off the island!! They got off just in time, too. Ben was hard at work "moving the island" (as per Jacob's instructions) and after that task was complete, he was banned from the mysterious location. I'm not sure what all this "moving the island" is about, but it did make it disappear into a bright, white light. And then there was the mystery dead guy in the coffin (a.k.a. Jeremy Bentham). Turns out, it was Locke. But why? How?? While Jack was standing over Locke's body, Ben told him that all of the survivors need to go back to the island. Does this mean that next season will focus on their attempts to get back? I'm not sure I could handle the irony, although, after getting a taste of post-island life, I can't say I'm against the idea. Either way, I think the show gave us plenty to chew on over the summer and fall before we get to be Lost again next winter. Written by executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof and directed by Stephen Williams (Part I) and Jack Bender (Parts II & III). Screencap courtesy

22: "Last Days of Summer" - Friday Night Lights
This second season premiere had a little bit of everything -- conflict, angst, emotion and controversy, but it was the last one that had viewers talking. What happens when 2 teens take a life in self defense? They freak and cover it up. It's not that I blamed Landry for knocking the crap outta that perv who assaulted Tyra last season nor did I feel like the guy's death was anything more than an accident (Landry was trying to stop the guy, not kill him), but the smarter plan would have been to call the police and claim self defense. BUT these are kids and kids don't always make the best decisions. And there in lies the bitter realism that this show presents to such absolute perfection. Throw in a heartbreaking scene where Eric tells Tami that he has to go back to his job in Austin early and you've got all the trappings of another quality hour of television. Written by Jason Katims and directed by Jeffrey Reiner.

So, there's a look at the next set of episodes on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave us a comment with your thoughts. And be sure to tune in next Thursday for #21-19 on the list.

Chat with PJ and the 'Boys'

ATTENTION ALL MY BOYS FANS!! is giving you an opportunity to chat online TONIGHT with cast members Jordana Spiro (PJ), Kellee Stewart (Stephanie), Jamie Kaler (Mike), Reid Scott (Brendan), Mike Bunin (Kenny) and Kyle Howard (Bobby), as well as series creator and executive producer Betsy Thomas. More from TBS: Gives Fans of Acclaimed Comedy Series MY BOYS

Opportunity to Chat Online with Cast Members

Live Web Chat to Take Place Thursday, July 24, at 10 p.m. (ET),

Following Brand New Episode of Series on TBS

What: After watching a brand new episode of TBS’s original comedy series MY BOYS, fans can go online for a web chat with cast members Jordana Spiro (PJ), Kellee Stewart (Stephanie), Jamie Kaler (Mike), Reid Scott (Brendan), Mike Bunin (Kenny) and Kyle Howard (Bobby), as well as series creator and executive producer Betsy Thomas.

When & Where: Thursday, July 24 (after a brand-new episode of MY BOYS) at

New episodes of MY BOYS air on TBS Thursday nights at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

'Deadliest' Final Tallies

Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch'By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

And so another Opilio crab season goes into the books.

Our Deadliest Catch gang all made it back to Dutch Harbor safe and sound, in one piece, meeting their respective quotas. And those quotas ... wow ... 574,000 pounds here, 850,000 pounds there. The crews cash in at about $1 million or so for their crab payloads, which ends up earning each deckhand anywhere from $47,000 to $52,000 in take home pay.


The Northwestern continued its flaming hook tradition whereby Edgar Hansen (Captain Sig's bro') sets the hook on fire when they go to pull up their last pot for the season. It is for good luck, but as Captain Sig says, they don't know if it works until next season.

Captain Keith did indeed have a hole is port aft tank aboard the Wizard, which explains why the darn thing ended up being a bottomless pit, unable to truly be topped off. As quickly as he was raking in the crab, he was sending them back out to sea. Funny. The boat really does win in the end, says Keith.

The Time Bandit wrapped up a 42-hour marathon session to meet their 574,000 pound quota. Yahoo! I have to say Captain Andy is entertaining. He's funny, goofy, never seems to get overly flustered or angry. I'll miss seeing him at the helm come King Crab season. (No offense to bro' Johnathan - we like him, too).

But I have to say that this season will be remembered for the Cornelia Marie crew's resilience in light of Captain Phil's troubled health - which, in and of itself, is what will mark this season. To face what they faced, yet pull out a 1.2 million pound crab payload worth $1.3 million is a tribute to the true die-hard spirit of this crew. We remember their season got off on the wrong foot given they could not even find the crab in their first strings, then they encountered engine troubles that forced them to return to port. When they finally limped back out into the Bering Sea and started to rake in the crab payload, they were hit with Phil's near-death blood clot health issue, which saw him have to be removed from the helm and take up residence in a hospital. Credit should be given to relief Captain Murray Gamrath for pulling the crew together and doing one heck of a pinch hit job. Captain Phil's health still remains an issue, and it is yet uncertain as to whether his fishing career will be over. We sincerely hope not. Considering only 2 out of 10 people survive a blood clot passing through one's heart and onto one's lung, we'd like to think Phil has already beat the odds.

And though only one tragedy occurred during the actual Opilio season, shortly after all crews left Dutch Harbor, the Bering Sea reminded everyone just how deadly she can be - claiming the vessel Alaska Ranger.

47 people into the water.

42 rescued.

5 lost.

A sobering reminder of just how deadly this job really is.

You can catch replays of Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel throughout the remainder of the summer. Visit the official Deadliest Catch Web site for the latest on the captains and crews of the Northwestern, Cornelia Marie, Time Bandit, Wizard, Early Dawn and North American.

Shawn's 'Psych' Out

I am so psyched to have Psych back! Between this show and The Closer, I feel like my summer TV schedule just got hotter. The season premiere proved that Shawn is not only excellent at impersonating a psychic, but he's also quite good at being a ghost. Yup, this episode psyched all of us out when we thought our favorite cable duo was on the case of a haunting at the home of one of Gus's bosses. But it wasn't a ghostly figure in a white dress or a switch-obsessed spirit or even an eery apparition that tapped into the phone lines, drove the dog crazy and sent chills up and down everyone's spines. Nope, it was Shawn. He faked the haunting in order to save Gus's paying job. In addition to Shawn's desire to keep Gus at Psych, there was also the little matter of Gus's income benefiting both of them:

Shawn: Who needs $48,000 to live?
Gus: I need $32. The other 16 generally goes to you.
Shawn: Don't be ridiculous.
Gus: I claimed you on my taxes, Shawn.

It was all quite ingenious really. Shawn's haunting trick may have hinged on an errant "Gus??!," but in the end, he was still able to work out a deal that was mutually beneficial for Psych and Gus's pharmaceutical bosses.

Back at home, things weren't as easy. Shawn's mother blew into town to lend her therapist expertise to the Santa Barbara Police Department (which, by the way, led to a series of HILARIOUS scenes involving Lassie letting it all out on the couch and then finding out that the doc was none other than Shawn's mom -- good stuff) and she caused a storm in the Spencer household. Seems Shawn always believed that it was his father who left his mother and not vice versa. The truth hurt, but then it sorta set him free. Could we be seeing the beginnings of a good relationship between Shawn and his father? Nah! There's too much "My father doesn't think I'm good enough" going on there to ever bury that hatchet. Good -- that means more funny conflict scenes for us.

Psych airs Friday nights on USA Network. Catch up on this episode and others at

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Comic-Con 2008: We're Not There, But You Might Be

Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego, CABy LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

We are probably one of the few blogs in the television blogosphere not out in full force at Comic-Con 2008.

And if you ain't got your pass by now, you ain't going.

And we don't, so we're not.


Still, it is worth noting that the hoopla begins Thursday, July 24th and runs through Sunday, July 27th at the San Diego Convention Center. Special preview night is Wednesday (July 23rd).

For those not in the know, what started out as the annual geek fest of all geek fests back in the 1970s (think Star Trek Convention on steroids) has become"the" place for movie studios and TV networks to reveal some of their biggest stars and hits - both present and forthcoming (think Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux or Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwenyth Paltrow in Iron Man ; Lost's J.J. Abrams is a regular fixture; the casts of hits like Heroes and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles have been featured before we ever have seen them on the small screen).

Needless to say, it's a cool shindig.

For a full list of all the happenings for this year's installment, head on over to Comic-Con International's Official Web Site. It'll tell you who will be where, in what room, on what panel and in what quadrant of the San Diego Convention Center.

And hey, if you're going ... drop us a line and let us know how it is!

Things Go Bump on 'The Closer'

'The Closer' Returns for its Forth Season on TNT
By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer


Insta Closer Classic.

This is all I can think about today in trying to recap last night’s highly-sterical episode titled “Speed Bump.” Pick a moment, any moment moment:

Walk With Me
Red Rover Run Me Over
Nooner to Eighter or Niner
Back Spasm Central
Murder Girls Gone Wild!

The Case

This totally reminded me of that X-Files episode from years back about the old folks home whereby its residents would … ahem … die suddenly for no apparent reason. Now, in this case, there was no old folks home for Priority Homicide to investigate nor any sort of government alien conspiracy to otherwise occupy one’s time.

Rather, it was a half-way house run by two women who … ahem … thought nothing of convincing its down-on-their-luck residents to a) take out a life insurance policy; b) name the women as beneficiaries; c) wait a year until the policy matures; d) take resident out, get him drunk and turn him into a human speed bump.


The kicker, of course, was last night’s victim (Roy Wilkinson) was actually one of those “Are we really sorry he’s dead?” victims – having been convicted of brutally strangling a young girl (Carly) whilst having sex with her. He only got eight years for the deed before being released to take up residence in the half-way house – much to Lieutenant Flynn’s chagrin. See, it was Flynn’s case back in the day – one he took a little too personally then and of which hadn't changed a whole lot now. Like, sending flowers two weeks prior to Ray’s roadkill-esque death to commemorate the anniversary of Carly’s death. Easy there, Flynn. Good thing he had an alibi for Ray's death. Flynn sorta reminded me of Sergeant Gabriel in last season’s Ruby, when a case becomes a little bit more than just a case.

Poor BJ and her overzealous, grudge bearing detectives. What’s a Den Mother to do?

The Hysterical

How many times did Lieutenant Tao say “Walk with me” as he was trying to show BJ that the doer drove around the block and came back to finish the job on ol’ Ray?

Or Lieutenant Provenza playing Red Rover Run Me Over with umpteen dummies as he and Tao tried to establish the pattern of injuries on Ray from the impact of the car. Did he seem to be having a little too much fun?

Or the cat fight in the interview room between the two half-way house ladies after one learns the other was trying to squeeze her out of her fair share of the life insurance policy? Cue Murder Girls Gone Wild!

The Hysterical Personal

So that’s how you break in every room of a new house, eh?

And why this show continues to charm beyond charms.

As Jon Tenney told us, would we not have wanted to sit in on those tone meetings for BJ and Fritzy’s early-morning-turn-to-back-spasm romp around the house? Sort of like the spicier version of Lilly Rush’s Rompage in "Rampage" sequence with dear Joseph without an ol' football injury getting in the way of ... ahem ... the fun.

Poor Fritzy throws out his back. Being a back pain sufferer myself, let me tell you,

But he’ll be good for a nooner, right?


More like an-eighter-to-a-niner-to-asleep in front of the TV, flat on the floor, pretty much where he was left earlier in the day (banged elbows on having been dragged there by BJ not withstanding).

And yet the brilliance of this show is that they mix the humor with a sense of delicateness. BJ wanted desperately to give Fritz something for the pain only to be reminded that giving Vicodin to a recovering alcoholic is not a good call. And, when BJ comes home at the end of the very long day, sees Fritz asleep, goes for a glass of wine only to put the wine back in the cabinet, get in her PJs and cuddle up with him on the floor … awwwwww!!!!!!!

Do we love this show or do we love this show?

New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT. You can also watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site.

‘Grace’ Reminds Us Not to Forget

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Time out.

Flag on the play.

Just when I thought Saving Grace was over their rollicking sex romp opening sequences … surprise! As we know, that angle of the show does not really appeal to this viewer. Yet, it wasn’t as bothersome for me last night as it might have been last season.


Aside from the fact it was Kenny Johnson on display (as opposed to the usual MO of Holly Hunter and/or the female lead having to undress whilst the men sit around and do nothing), the rest of the episode had a rather ominous but homage-like tone to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.

And that made it pretty interesting.

The case was kind of a missing persons/whodunnit, with the son of a bombing victim turning back to his cocaine habit whilst his star athlete girlfriend tried to stop him. Grace had a connection to the son’s family – she found the father in the Murrow building two days after the bombing. As a result, she maintained a close relationship with the son and mother over the past 13 years.

But more than the case, this ep had the two elements I enjoyed the most last season: 1) Grace/Rhetta dynamic; 2) Grace/nephew Clay dynamic.

There was a nice confrontation between Rhetta and Clay as Clay calls Grace onto the carpet for a) lying about her adulterous relationship with Ham; b) lying about why she couldn’t baby sit him the day before the bombing (hung over), which then required her sister to go the next day – the day of the bombing – to get Clay a social security card.

Clay, like Rhetta, is one of the few who can hold Grace accountable for her actions. She can’t write him off, ditch him, ignore him, be a beyotch. She can’t escape the innocence with which he asks her the simplest questions, and that in turn forces her to look at herself as she truly is – perhaps even more so than with Angel Earl. Clay is almost like her conscience, and the guilt she feels as it pertains to the loss of his mother – her sister – is overwhelming.

As such, the Oklahoma City bombing aftermath hung heavily over this episode. Whether it was the squad asking each other how many friends they lost in the tragedy, or Grace’s connection to the case, or Rhetta explaining that she was eight months pregnant and on bed rest at the time it happened, which prevented her from being able to volunteer to help, it was hard not to feel as if the OK City folks sometimes get forgotten in the post-9/11 era.

But we cannot forget.

Their tragedy was just as much of a tragedy.

And it is episodes like this where the show’s setting in Oklahoma City serves us all a sobering reminder of how deep scars run ... something Grace knows a thing or two about.

New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT. You can watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site. You can also visit to share your stories of how you embrace your inner-Grace.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mary Plans Her Divorce

This week's episode brought a whole new meaning to that "If you love someone, set them free" saying. More like, "If you don't love someone but can't divorce her due to your religious beliefs but still want her to find the love of her life, set her free by making her think that you're dead." Phew! I had to laugh at Mary's complete lack of understanding when it came to the Ferguson's marriage Catch 22 and I loved her "I'm already planning my divorce" comment. Oh Mary -- always the cynic. The irony in all of this was Don's decision to fake his death in order to give his wife a chance to be happy with someone she truly loves. He did it because they weren't happy together, and yet, it was the most generous, loving thing he could have done. Many in-love married couples might not have done the same. Faced with her husband's death, Ruth was even inclined to admit that she loved loves him. So, why couldn't these two crazy kids find some happiness?

And while Ruth and Don's relationship was dysfunctional, no one does Dysfunction Junction quite like Mary and Raph. I'm convinced that she's one of those people who doesn't want to be happy in a relationship. It's like she goes out of her way to cause conflict between her and the man that, simply put, just wants to be with her. She has everything between them in constant turmoil, so Raph is having "moments" with her opportunistic sister and then deciding that he can't hang out with her because it will be "best for everyone." I'm not Brandi's biggest fan, but I did feel a teensy bit bad for her when Raph called her and she subsequently burst out in tears. I think that Brandi is one of those women who likes to have men lusting after her, even when one of those men is her sister's boyfriend. I don't think she would have crossed the line, but I feel better with some distance between them. Of course, if next week's promo is any indication, then maybe Brandi should be given free range with Raph. Perhaps, she wouldn't jerk him around the way that Mary does.

In Plain Sight airs Sunday nights on USA Network. If you missed this week's episode ("Don of the Dead"), check it out for free at

Sunday, July 20, 2008

TCAs: Another PTR Fave at CBS, CW & Showtime Press Tour Stars Party

'Brotherhood's' Annabeth Gish Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

So what happens when two PTR Faves turn up at the same event?

Other than the fact that we I forget to mention it completely, we'd kinda like to hope for a joint project to be put into the works one of these days, but alas, we I digress.

Brotherhood's Annabeth Gish (who is also a PTR Fave) attended the same CBS, CW & Showtime Press Tour Stars Party Cold Case star (and PTR Fave) Kathryn Morris attended, which was held at Boulevard 3 in Hollywood on July 18th.

Small world, eh? (In Hollyweird, not really - seeing as Showtime is a part of CBS and vice versa).

And thanks to our friends at All Things Annabeth, she and husband Wade Allen have just announced they are expecting their second child this coming November.

PTR congrats both!

Production on the third season of Showtime's Brotherhood begins July 28th on location in Providence, Rhode Island.

Photos: Jeffery Mayer / WireImage

'Brotherhood's' Annabeth Gish Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008

'Brotherhood's' Annabeth Gish Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

PJ Wishes She's One of the 'Boys'

Last week, we found out one reason why it sucks to be the only girl in a group of guy friends. This week, we learned another -- no invite to the super fun bachelor party when one of those guy friends decides to tie the knot. PJ did not take this too well. It was made worse by Bobby's plea for her to attend Elsa's shower (which, to make matters even worse -- as if that were possible -- was thrown by a bunch of Bobby's aristocratic mother's friends). And while watching someone you barely know who justsohappens to be marrying the guy you secretly have feelings for open up different sized-strainers is a total blast and all, PJ found herself a little less than enthused. Not everyone was suffocating from the stuffiness in the air, though. Stephanie, who has made quite a name for herself with this relationship book You're a Nice Guy, But..., found her newest fan club at the shower. She relished in the attention and PJ had to bribe her with shoes and drinks just to get her to leave. Unfortunately, though, that smashing success didn't translate so well for members of the opposite sex. Later, she wound up losing a potential date when he learned that she was the author of the book that caused his girlfriend to dump him (turns out, he was an "Ike"). Poor Steph. She never seems to have everything fall into place together.

Of course, the biggest event of the episode was PJ admitting to Bobby that she asked him to Italy because she had feelings for him (back then, of course -- not now. Wink, wink). Can't say I was too surprised that Bobby was quite taken back by this bit of honesty. As much as he seems to love Elsa, I've often wondered if he would drop everything for PJ. He doesn't strike me as the "leave her at the alter" type, but I am curious to see what happens now that PJ is back in his picture.

You can catch up on episodes of My Boys at New episodes air Thursday nights at 9:30 pm (EST) on TBS.

TCAs - Morris at CBS, CW & Showtime Press Tour Stars Party

'Cold Case's' Kathryn Morris Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Okay, so we're not covering every aspect of the two-week long TCA Press Tour in Los Angeles.

'Cause everyone else is.

But we're always following our Faves.

Last night, Cold Case star (and PTR Fave) Kathryn Morris attended the CBS, CW & Showtime Press Tour Stars Party at Boulevard 3 in Hollywood.

Production on the sixth season of Cold Case will resume in August.

- Jean-Paul Aussenard / WireImage
- Jeffery Mayer / WireImage
- David Livingston / Getty Images
- Chris Pizzello / AP

'Cold Case's' Kathryn Morris Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008

'Cold Case's' Kathryn Morris Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008

'Cold Case's' Kathryn Morris Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008

'Cold Case's' Kathryn Morris Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008

'Cold Case's' Kathryn Morris Attends CBS, CW, Showtime TCA Press Tour Party, July 2008

Special thanks to PTR's photo wrangler RichE of Look Again, who is always willing to help us corral some of our photos.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Birthday Wishes

PTR Fave Kristen Bell celebrates a birthday today!

Happy Birthday Kristen!!
Your Friends at PTR

Look for Kristen this fall when Heroes kicks off its third season on NBC. She can also be seen in next year's big screen film When in Rome.

TCA Recaps: The Good, The Bad, The Reality

We have a guest columnist this week: Kevin Kelly, former blogger for AOL's TV Squad, Cinematical and Gawker's io9, Kevin offered PTR his thoughts on some of the first days of the Television Critics Association's summer shindig - thanks Kev!

Kevin Kelly of GeneralRubbish.comBy Kevin Kelly
PTR Guest Columnist

2008 Summer TCAsDay 2 can really only be described as an “Overdose in Celebreality”. The aftermath of the writer’s strike is still showing painfully, like a broken bone poking through the skin. There are a ton of reality shows that can only be described as trainwrecks coming down the television pipeline. If you’d hoped for a escape, you’re out of luck.


2008 Summer TCAsThe news: Women’s Entertainment is launching a new show called The Locator, a reality-based show that feature uber-locator Troy Dunn as a man who tracks down birth parents, long-lost lovers, and people who owe you money. He was joined onstage by a mother and daughter duo who had been reunited on the show, which is filled with heart-wrenching scenes, based on the trailer we saw.

The quote: Mom kept remarking “You’re so gorgeous!!! You look like me!” to her newfound daughter while they compared tans and silicone boobs.


2008 Summer TCAsThe news: Country Music Television is really embracing the reality television onslaught like they always have, although this year they even have spinoff reality shows. There doesn’t really appear to be an end in sight. Either there is still a massive audience out there for this, hiding in the heartland of America, or else the executive at the channel just can’t think of anything new. Or both.

Gone Country: The series is heading into a second season, with B-list celebs Chris Kirkpatrick, Sean Young, Lorenzo Lamas, and Mikalah Gordon. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about celebs who are trying to reinvent themselves as country-western singers. This passed over my head (and musical tastes) with a whistling sound, and Mikalah seemed peeved that no one wanted to ask her anything.

The quote: Sean Young was asked how she’s feeling and what’s going with her, and she remarked that “My social anxiety has kind of turned into social hostility.” So try and keep a safe zone perimeter around her at all times if you spot her in the wild.

Outsider’s Inn: Three of the people who didn’t advance on last season’s Gone Country have been awarded their own spinoff show. Maureen “Marcia Brady” McCormick, Carnie “Stomach Stapling” Wilson, and Bobby “What the Heck?” Brown run a bed & breakfast out in the country for a month. Sound like something you’d want to watch?

The quote: Maureen McCormick has found her appearances on Gone Country and Celebrity Fit Club to be “Very cathartic. I feel like for the first time in my life I’ve been able to reveal me.” She’ll be revealing more of herself in her autobiography called Here’s The Story.

Comedy Central

2008 Summer TCAsThe news: Comedy Central decided to straddle the line by presenting a new game show (actually a new old game show), which borders on reality, and a new sketch/magazine format comedy show. Thankfully, these were presented with funny people, so it actually served as a very brief respite between all the reality blitzes.

The Gong Show with Dave Atell: Dave Atell loves getting dirty and in your face, and while his show Insomniac seemed like a good vehicle for that, the new Gong Show seems mainly reserved for people who can fart, take their clothes off, or otherwise gross you out. It’s like Jackass with a giant gong. Literally.

The quote: Someone asked Atell what beer pong was, because they referenced it earlier. He lovingly explained, “Well, grandpa, you’ve got to get out of the Cracker Barrel! What is a beer pong? Geez.”

David Alan Grier’s Chocolate News: I’ve always wondered why David Alan Grier never became a star on the level of Dave Chappelle or Adam Sandler. He’s been on a very successful sketch comedy show, In Living Color, and is very quick with a joke, does great impersonations, and has a tireless energy. What happened? Comedy Central is launching a magazine-style news show that he’ll star in, and we can only hope that helps.

The quote: When asked if they might have Dave Chappelle on the show as a guest star, or if they’d follow the format of his show, Grier quipped “I sure would love that $50 million dollars!” So would we, Dave. So would we.

TV Land

2008 Summer TCAsThe news: Despite a brief break from reality provided by the comedians, the real tidal wave of reality shows had yet to hit us. TV Land decided to set us straight by smacking us in the face with Family Foreman, a reality show featuring George Foreman, his wife, and their kids. It’s about what you’d expect, with the slight added bonus that George Foreman is genuinely pretty interesting. I just wonder if he’ll have the kids hocking George Foreman Grills… based on his quote below, he might.

The quote: When asked if it’s confusing with so many kids named George running around in the same house (he has five sons named George, and a daughter named Georgetta). “I tell everybody when you’ve been hit on the head by Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Evander Holyfeld, Muhammed Ali… how many names do you expect me to be able to come up with?”


2008 Summer TCAsThe news: Not to be left out of the fray, VH1 has two new reality shows that they want you to know about as well. Remember those days when VH1 used to show music videos? Me either. Trying to remember is like looking through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars with the lens caps still on.

Glam God: Vivica A. Fox hosts a show that can best be described as Project Runway meets… a cheap knockoff of Project Runway that’s squarely aimed at Hollywood. The competition is to find Hollywood’s “next breakout stylist.” She’s joined by some stylist judges, and they critique everything in a very sassy style. I’m not sure who will really be worshipping at the altar of Glam God.

The quote: Asked if she ever spoke to Larry David about fashion, she replied “He ain’t changing. Larry’s going to wear his Converse. He’s going to drive his hybrid. He is going to be LD.” Isn’t driving a hybrid trendy and stylish right now? Shows what I know.

The Cho Show: Margaret Cho returns to television, although this time it’s a full-on reality show, complete with both of her parents, an assistant, and the unscripted (or are they?) situations that make up her life. I can’t summon the snark here for some reason, because I have a bizarre crush on her. I’ll surrender my press card as a result. However, this is still reality TV, and I want to stomp on it like it’s a bag of dog poop on fire.

The quote: When asked what makes Asian families different from “regular” American families she said, “Our skin is kind of yellow, and then our eyes are smaller, so we just look different. We kind of blend in with everybody. Okay, I’m just kidding.”


2008 Summer TCAsFrom Gs to Gents: Jamie Foxx is also getting in on the action, with this makeover show that promises to take “Gs” – gangstas, and turns them into “Gents.” They do this with the instruction of host Fonzworth Bentley, who is so dapper that he almost feels like a caricature. The “Gs” on the show are fairly hardcore playas, and some of them weep openly when they get booted off the show. Who knew?

The quote: When asked when makes a man stylish, he said “There’s a quote that I really love, ‘Dress is an outward expression of a man’s state of mind. It is his attire that tells the world what he thinks of himself.’” So what does that say about my jeans and t-shirt attire? Dammit.

National Geographic Channel

2008 Summer TCAsThe news: The National Geographic Channel is one of those channels that I never thought I’d be into, but have you noticed that over the past few years shows on there and on places like the Discovery Channel and the History Channel are kicking a lot of ass? They’re definitely more watchable than reality shows, and in some cases they’re a lot more exciting than the scripted ones as well. They showed us two shows, and also touted a week’s worth of specials that they’re calling Expedition Week.

World’s Toughest Fixes: Ever wonder what some of the toughest jobs in the world are? Like, how do you work on power lines that carry 500,000 volts, or work on a tower 2,000 feet in the air? The answer is: very carefully. Host Sean Riley undergoes training for different jobs, then joins real-life workers onsite to work alongside them and show people how it’s done. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

The quote: This one actually came from a journalist in the room. The producers said that they’d actually found the host Sean on Craigslist, someone asked if they’d found an ad that read “Tall guy with a red beard looking for fun?”

Dogtown: Saving the Michael Vick Dogs: Dogtown has already had a season before this show, which is a two-hour special where they take the 22 fighting dogs seized during the raid on Michael Vick’s compound. It serves as a lead in to the second series, and is filled with tragic stories about these dogs who have been so mistreated. They brought in George, one of the pit bulls they rescued from his house, and she had every one of her teeth surgically removed before they took her out of there.

The quote: “Woof!” Actually, Georgia was a very sweet dog who has had an incredibly hard life. She’s such a sweetie, and whoever mistreated her should have their testes removed. Painfully.

Expedition Week: This is an ambitious week-long grouping and shows, focused around… expedition. The panel for this was impressive, simply because Buzz Aldrin was there. Second man to walk on the moon! He’s part of a special called Live From The Moon, that features incredible live high-definition video satellite footage from the moon. In fact, it’s the first video footage of the moon shot since astronauts last landed there.

The week continues with Unlocking the Great Pyramid, Shipwreck! Captain Kidd, and Explorer: Lost City of the Amazon. Trust me, this is programming that you would much rather watch than According to Jim, Two and a Half Men, and Season Three of Lost.

The quote: Buzz Aldrin was asked what the next great frontier that the human race would explore was. “I think we want to go to Mars to establish survival of the human race, among other things. That’s a problem.” Reminds me of the other quote from Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Get your ass to Mars.”

A&E Networks

2008 Summer TCAsA&E has a unique blend of science/history programming, as well as scripted entertainment. They gathered three shows together to showcase both sides of this coin to us, the History Channel’s (which is part of the A&E Network) Sandhogs and Einstein, and A&E’s The Cleaner.

Sandhogs: Sandhogs are urban miners who dig in tunnels and construction projects deep below the surface of the Earth. These are the people who dig the tunnel that links Long Island Railroad to Grand Central Station, who built the foundations for the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s very perilous work, and these guys are an incredibly tight-knit family. One sandhog on the panel even got choked up when he was talking about his experience working with his “brothers.”

The quote: When asked how dangerous it is working in these tunnels, sandhog Craig Piligan said “There’s no paper cuts down there. A couple of weeks ago our foreman got his fingers ripped off. It’s cave-ins, it’s collapses.” I think I’ll never complain about my job again.

Einstein: This special looks to show how Einstein saw the world, what made him brilliant, what his faults were, and what exactly the impact everything had on his own life. It’s not exactly a biography, per se, but more a study about what made Einstein such an interesting guy. Much more interesting than a white-haired man with crazy hair and his tongue sticking out.

The quote: Apparently Einstein had a mean streak. When one of Einstein’s friends who wished to be German was dying shortly after Hitler was driven out of Germany, Einie wrote him a letter that said “You finally understand the blond beast has got you.” Not exactly a friendly send-off.

The Cleaner: Benjamin Bratt stars in this show about a man who struggles with his own addiction, who strikes a deal with God to save others from addiction as well. It’s a large ensemble show, with Bratt and his television family dealing with the problems that their father’s new direction takes them in. My only note here is… it’s tough for me to get past the Benjamin Bratt factor. I’m just not a fan. Yes, that’s my own personal problem. You might love this show to pieces. I have no idea. If I knew, I’d be rich from predicting the future.

The quote: When asked if the language would be “sanitized” for A&E, like their versions of The Sopranos are, co-creator and and executive producer Jonathan Prince said “Well, you can have two sh*ts, one bullsh*ts, no horsesh*ts, one ass, no a**hole. There’s a rule, it’s math, I think.”

The second day of the Cable part of the TCAs pretty much tend to be fairly shell-shocking, just because of the sheer amount of information that you’re having firehosed onto your brain at any moment. It’s easy to let things slip in one ear and go barreling out the other, particularly when it comes to reality television, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the other programming.