Saturday, December 19, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year

No, not Christmas. (Though my deepest Christmas wishes were fulfilled early - see #5)
It's awards season.



I'm aware that...
a. this is primarily a TV blog
b. the Emmys were way back in September, and
c. "awards season" is really just Oscar season
...so the subject of this post may seem irrelevant.

However, because I love awards shows, the Oscars in particular, I'm being indulgent. But perhaps most importantly, the little old Golden Globes are kind of the beginning of awards season (Oscar-lite/practice Oscars) and they happen to include awards for excellence in television. So although I could go on and on about many of the film nominees (the fact that I haven't even seen Up in the Air yet but am already totally behind it, the question of the deserved/undeserved hype surrounding Avatar and James Cameron in general and whether or not it/he deserved a nom) we're going to stick to more familiar territory for now, the television categories. If that wasn't enough explanation for you, feel free to depart. Moving on.

In case you've been living under a rock and haven't had a chance to glance over the nominations, or read one of the many nominee-by-nominee rundowns somewhere in the past week, the entire list can be found here.


Let's start from the top with Best Television Series - Drama. If you look closely at this one, I believe you'll find that "one of these things is not like the other things", if you know what I mean. It's been at least a year, if not two, since I stopped watching House, but I don't see any scenario where it belongs in a category with shows of this caliber (or one with Best at the beginning). Don't get me wrong, I love Hugh Laurie, and he's well-cast and entertaining in this role, but I have a hard time believing in that the year or so since I've watched, the show has gotten any less formulaic (Lupus? Sarcoidosis?), and thus, any better. Maybe the Best Actor nomination is deserved, I don't know. The rest of this category is pretty straight-forward, obvious, and accurate. And though Mad Men is basically the odds-on favorite for everything, I think Dexter may be on its heels in this case with a season that was initially uncertain, but taken as a whole, may be its best yet. So possibly some excitement here.

As for the Best Actor/Actress nominations for Drama, again mostly accurate. From the 1 1/2 episodes of CBS' semi-predictable The Mentalist I've watched with my grandparents I still don't know much about Simon Baker, but he seems to do well enough. And interesting to note in the Actress category, 3 of the 5 have already received this award. Perhaps it will be someone new this time around (fingers crossed for January Jones?)

Best Comedy Series, Actor/Actress and Supporting Actor/Actress after the jump...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can you see it?


Sometimes retweets really are worth reading. That's where I found this little gem, a series of posters from Albert Exergian, each featuring a single minimalist image evoking a popular TV show. You can find the whole series here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Too Much, Too Late

Fall TV has been on at least a month now (more for some early-starters), and still no beat-down of what the ridiculous and wonderful world of network television has to offer this season. Yes, I've been slacking, but here it is. Too late, perhaps, for any of you to go back and hop on board with any of these gems, but let's face it, not many of them are even worth it. So without further ado...


ABC
Cougar Town
I understand that this comes from the mind that gave us Scrubs,
but I just can't wrap my head around it. The hybrid of the quirky humor that made said show popular and a plot based on middle-aged-lady-philandering has just missed the mark. The script is definitely not up to par with...anything, and I think Courtney Cox could definitely do a lot better post-Dirt. Ideally, I think this one just needs to be put out of its misery.

Eastwick
As much as I really wanted to enjoy this show, its unavoidable similarities to Charmed, as well as every witch-triumvirate Halloween movie that's ever existed (one of which it's based upon) and its Desperate Housewives-ey soap opera overtones have me unimpressed. It's visually pleasing, yes, and the actors aren't terrible, but it leaves something to be desired. It's all been done before, re-hashed too many times to be engaging or at all interesting. There's the possibility that it will get better with time, and grow into its place, but I seriously doubt it.


Modern Family
Enjoy it more than I probably should. Ridiculous and slapstick-laden at times, but it makes me laugh. Ty Burrell as the Michael Scott-worthy Phil and the loveable gays keep me coming back. Worth looking into (they're all there on Hulu).




Flash Forward
Hoping to be a replacement when Lost makes its exit next year, but it has neither the writing or the story to do so, in my opinion. A ca-razy concept slapped onto any old script does not a hit make. Well, not for me, but probably so for the rest of America who are eating this up. Don't say I didn't warn you.


FOX
Glee
I'll admit, when the pilot episode of Glee aired this spring and the
gays and choir nerds the world over were all atwitter, I decided that simply would not, and could not watch it (as Mo still hasn't, "on principle"). I was bombarded with suggestions to see it--usually accompanied by an "omg"and something along the lines of "It's soooooo good"-- which only served to strengthen my resolve. But I absentmindedly sat in while others were watching, and I can no longer deny...I liked it. To paraphrase a recent review I've read, It's gay, and it's good. Yes, it has its musical roots, but the majority of the songs are pop and fabulous (I couldn't resist). Plus, you can download the songs on iTunes (this crazy technological world we live in!), and some of us may or may not have done so. Anyway, if you're not on the wagon already, get it in gear, and join the rest of us.

NBC

Community
Haven't watched much more than the first episode, but I simply can't bring myself to go any further. Yes, I like NBC comedies generally, and yes, I like Joel McHale, but the constant self-promotion on Twitter, Chevy Chase, and the little I've watched have only proven to turn me away. If it's worth it, somebody tell me, otherwise, it's staying in the unwatched pile.



Mercy
Reminds me a lot of failed drama The Black Donnellys for some reason. Perhaps because it's main themes are a. depression b. sadness c. sadness. Iraq War veteran, beaten-down nurse rather than a doctor, New Jersey, prone to drinking...sad sad sad. I honestly don't think it's that terrible of a show, but watching this every week might make an already swine flu-paranoid, economically-concerned person need to up their dosage.



CBS

Accidentally on Purpose
Don't know why I even bothered to watch this one, because CBS + Comedy + Jenna Elfman + countless other unidentified actors = disaster. It's inane, unfunny, and painful. I give it one season. If it gets renewed, consider my faith in humanity cancelled.



The Good Wife
Better than I expected, to be honest. It's nice to see Juliana Margulies back in action (excepting that whole Canturbury's Law thing), especially if you like her. The usual legal procedural with a little twist thrown in, the fact she's the jilted wife of a philandering politician (ripped from the headlines no less). Enough fresh and new to keep some of us interested, but we'll see where it goes from here.

If it's not here, it probably missed the boat on my willing-to-give-it-a-chance week of new pilots. From what I've heard, I haven't missed anything truly remarkable, but if you think so, let me know, I'm open to suggestions.

FINAL NOTE: Hooray for ABC finally getting on the Hulu bandwagon! The constantly-changing, ever-worsening media player on their site was a real drag (not as much as other networks, but still), so thank goodness they've finally come around to the world of user-friendly online TV. And for those of us who have limited season pass space on our TiVos, or just prefer to watch our shows parked in front of a laptop, this is a dream come true.


Things Mo Loves This Year

Ya ya, it's been awhile. Like always. Typical. Anyway, here are a few of Mo's favorite things of the 2009 fall/holiday season.

Twitter

Obviously Curly and I aren't the most prolific bloggers. We're just not commitment people (obviously). That is not to say we are not grateful for our small but devoted fan base, and because of such we've created a Young and Tactless Twitter feed. If you aren't on Twitter, get with the program. Now that your parents have invaded Facebook, Twitter is the place to be and be seen. Follow us @youngntactless !

TiVo HD

Let's not even discuss it. Your Dish DVR/Comcast OnDemand will never live up to TiVo. I am coming up on my one year anniversary with my TiVo HD and here is why you should upgrade:
  • Dual HD tuners (record 2 shows in HD while playing back another, SO useful for Thursday nights). Ya some generic DVR's do this, but I don't care. TiVo does it best.
  • Netflix streaming: Got a Netflix membership? You better 'cause its vastly classier than Redbox. Anyway, stream any Play Instantly movie from Netflix through your TiVo to the TV. Note: sound quality is vastly improved if you have surround sound.
  • Tons and tons of storage space, and if you need more you can get the XL or an external expander drive.
  • It looks like technological sex.





Instant Handbrake

For making those "backup copies" (which are legal) of DVD's on your Mac. Gotta back up those collections folks. We would just never recommend pirating DVD's in this manner, even though it would be extremely easy and be custom made to create iPod compatible copies. Maybe it works on Windows. I don't know and I don't care.

Breaking Up

Not with your significant other (we're too codependent for that anyway), but with TV shows that should have been let out to pasture. This season's victims include Grey's Anatomy (which should have gone away last season), Ugly Betty, Gossip Girl and Survivor. Technically I gave up Survivor years ago, but if you are still watching it you should too. COME ON FOLKS. It was a laugh 5 years ago. Now it's like a template that they keep refilling with new characters. And as for Gossip Girl, Curly and I say if they bring back writing that doesn't make us cringe and add more of the Chuck Bass man love, we'll be back.

New MacBooks

Just had to throw this in for Curly's sake as she is patiently waiting for money from heaven to buy her a new MacBook. Seriously people, the new white ones are a DEAL! $949 with your student discount. Shocking.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gamma what?

It didn’t really hit me how out of hand this whole educational-television thing seemed to be getting until a short while ago, fresh off of his DVDs of The History Channel’s The Universe series, my grandfather was handing the set to my uncle to borrow when he fired off (quite seriously), something to the effect of “I’ll tell ya, I sure hope we never get hit with a gamma burst. “ After which he proceeded to explain exactly what that was, and why it would inevitably kill us all. I’m sure you’ve all experienced this, as e-TV has increasingly made average-joes (and average-grandpas) across the country experts on subjects no one ever thought or cared to know about. Information that they can then spring on unsuspecting family members or strangers at restaurants in a “Did you know…”-like fashion.

I mean, The Discovery Channel and The History Channel have been around for a while, but it seems like in the past decade there has been an explosion of both new educational shows and networks, as well as people who watch them. Since he’s got a TiVo, my grandpa has moved above and beyond his usual repertoire of Perry Mason and The Price is Right to include shows like Dr. G Medical Examiner, Nova, and a keyword folder called HITLER that’s usually got about 18 different WWII-related specials in it just waiting to be watched (as well as a few random episodes of shows that just happen to have Hitler in the description). I’m beginning to think that my grandpa is getting more from his $50-or-so of DirecTV per month than I do from thousands of dollars worth of college education. Granted, my education might, say, give me the qualifications to start a career, and his on the other hand, for he and I to carry on a lengthy conversation about something like the fate of the planet after humans are wiped out.

Now, I’m not claiming to be immune to this, by any means. I will stop what I’m doing and sit in front of the television for as long as possible to watch a marathon of How It’s Made (I seriously want that announcer guy to just talk me to sleep every night). I hesitate to admit that I’ve seen so many episodes of this show, that more than once I’ve uttered the phrase “Oh, I’ve already seen this one.” And consequently, I can rattle off useless facts like, why aluminum foil has a dull side and a shiny side, or explain how they assemble a catamaran. This show has been on thirteen seasons, mind you. There are enough people that care to observe the 17-step process of making roofing shingles that they’ve cranked out 160+ episodes of it.

While I’m confessing, I also admit to being helpless when it comes to:

a. a new one, Life After People
b.
Deadliest Catch
c.
MythBusters—but seriously, who isn’t?
d.
the Investigation Discovery Channel (I watched a fascinating special called Psychology of a Suicide Bomber, and now I’m hooked.)

Now let’s talk about e-TV success for a moment; do any of you remember that whole Planet Earth frenzy a year or so ago? As one who worked at a certain warehouse club at the time, I still can’t believe how many people purchased those DVDs (well maybe I can, since it was due in part to God…er…Oprah selecting it as one of her “favorite things”). I believe I have several family members, including my grandfather, who now own that exact set. And the series was such a hit, it was translated into a feature film called Earth, released in 2007, and the same production team is working on a follow-up series entitled The Frozen Planet due in 2012. So even though “four years in the making, it was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC,” it then became a movie, and now they're making another show. Just let that sink in for a moment.

Also, maybe it’s just me, but I think half of how they pull you in with these shows is a. the titles (I mean, who can resist something called Suicide Bombers: Cult of Death or MonsterQuest?) and b. the epic commercials showing you what you’ll see in said programs—like those for Life After People—following which, how could I not tune in to see how many thousands of years it would take after the elimination of all mankind for the Statue of Liberty to start falling apart? And sometimes, just sometimes, you see these irresistible commercials on other non-related channels. I believe I first saw the advertisement for LAP while waiting for the show to start at the local movie theater.

I guess when it comes down to it, even though shows like these just fill us with more useless information—besides things like what happened last time on Days of Our Lives—it’s quite comforting there are so many educational (or let’s be accurate, semi-educational) shows out there to help counteract the onslaught of such gems as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and New York… [insert new means of blatantly capitalizing on laughable amount of celebrity here]. And quite honestly, I really do enjoy most of the educational programming this country has to offer. Plus, if it’s gonna be mush anyway, I want my TV-addled brain to know just how they put together those nifty gumball machines, and whether or not a hurricane can blow a piece of straw through a tree.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The light(s) at the end of the spring finale-tunnel

The average person might see the three approaching summer months (four, if we’re being honest) without your network television mainstays as a barren wasteland of bad reality shows, and throwaway premieres. This may be true, but summer can also mean some real gems, you just have to know what they are. Here are a few tips about navigating summer TV, and a few shows we’re especially looking forward to.

TV TIP: Summer is a great time to pick a long (or not so long) running series, get yourself the DVDs (more on doing this in a morally acceptable, legal, effective and efficient way in a later post), and watch to your heart’s content. DVDs mean no commercials, you can watch as many episodes in a sitting as you’d like, and there’s probably more than one season available so you don’t have to wait months and months to see the shocking resolution to anything.
NOTE:
You might find a show you want to watch that’s returning sometime this summer, so make sure you set the new episodes to record, and then watch the DVDs of previous seasons. That way, the new ones are waiting for you whenever you finish. (This entire paragraph is probably a no-brainer, but whatever.)

Ok, so I guess there was only one tip, really. On to the shows…

Curly recommends:

Weeds (Showtime), returning June 8th (Season 5)

Yes, this show is about drugs, but you don’t necessarily have to be a pot-head to enjoy it. It’s smart, hilarious, and Mary Louise Parker is genius as suburban weed dealer Nancy Botwin. I absolutely love Justin Kirk as her brother-in-law, Andy Botwin, along with Kevin Nealon and Elizabeth Perkins as two of her quirky subdivision-turned-city neighbors. Plus, it’s only half an hour long, so if you decide to tackle the four preceding seasons of this one, it’s actually not that huge an undertaking, and definitely worth it.

True Blood (HBO), returning June 14th (Season 2)

Think Twilight, but darker, sexier, and set in Bon Temps, a small rural town in northern Louisiana. Based on the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris, its jump to the small screen has done exceptionally well. The story is fascinating – since the Japanese have developed a synthetic blood product (called Tru Blood, of course) that fulfills all their nutritional needs, vampires have “come out of the coffin” as it were, and now live openly among the human population. The show follows the story of waitress Sookie Stackhouse, as well as her (and the whole town’s) interaction with, and reactions to local vampire Bill Compton and vampires in general. The characters are interesting, and the show is addicting. And an Emmy winner! With only one previous season, you can get through this one with plenty of time to anticipate the brand new second season.

Mad Men (AMC), returning sometime this August (Season 3)

I don’t even know how to begin describing the amazing piece of television gold that is Mad Men. Probably one of the more notable shows of the past 5 years, this award winner is on my short list of favorites. For anyone who lived through the glorious 60s, it’s an (accurate, or so I’m told) flashback to a previous life. For those who didn’t, it’s still a fascinating look at life in a time only 40 years ago, but worlds away from we know today. And it’s sexy, brilliantly written, with an incredible cast. If you’re going to get into just one new show this summer, this is it. The first two seasons are a breeze, and will definitely leave you wanting more, ready for August.

So You Think You Can Dance (FOX), returning May 21st (Season 5)

Everybody has their reality TV guilty pleasures, including me, but this isn’t one of them. Granted, the audition stage of this show sometimes plays like that of any other reality-TV talent show. But once you get past the crazies and those just desperate for their 15 minutes, this show is real, honest, and entertaining. It’s not about fading stars clinging to the last vestiges of fame, or populated by over-confident, third-rate wannabe singers. Most dancers don’t get the chance, and never will be famous, but they do it anyway, because it’s what they love, and it’s their life. Yes, you’ll have your favorites, and others who you heartily dislike, but every one of them is genuine, gracious and truly grateful for their chance to perform. Nigel and Mary—and Mary’s voice—can get a bit annoying, but the guest judges/choreographers might just be just as endearing as any of the dancers (Mia and Napoleon & Tabatha are my faves!) So seriously, check this one out, and I promise you won’t regret it.

The Fashion Show (Bravo), series premiere May 7th
Project Runway (Lifetime), returning August 20th (Season 6)

Those of us who are avid followers of PR have been waiting with bated breath for word as when a new season would finally be televised, and on which of the bickering networks we’d be viewing it. Well, good news, not only is the legal battle out of the way, everybody wins, because now we have two fashion-based reality-TV shows over which to obsess. Seriously, get a hat, and get ready to hold the F onto it© (Annuale, anyone?) It’s unfortunate we must wait till August to see Heidi and Tim again (and on Lifetime, wah-wah-wah), so Bravo’s patched together the quite literally named The Fashion Show in order to desperately lure in past PR viewers. We’re now three weeks in, and I’ll say, I like the new set-up, à la Shear Genius/Top Design, with mini-challenges and whatnot. But the awkward Isaac/Kelly post-walkthrough chit-chat, as well as the judges deliberations being done in some little back closet makes me miss the polished and time-tested ways of Project Runway. And can someone please tell The Fashion Show to stop pushing the catchphrases? “We’re just not buying it,” “Buh-bye darling,” “You’re still in this competition, but you’re hanging by a thread.” None of these will ever come close to the genius that is “You’re out, auf Wiedersehen,” and “Make it work!” So we’ll see how this “I can’t sew”-fest shakes out, and hope it can sufficiently distract us until the real thing in August.

(You can catch up on previous episodes of The Fashion Show every Thursday on Bravo, replayed before the new one.)

Mo recommends:

Curly has quite effectively recapped much of what is capturing my attention for this summer (and in a far more aesthetically pleasing manner than I would have), but I have a few things to add....

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

I will confess that I have never been one to watch things because they were part of a franchise based on something I enjoyed, but Bravo's newest train-wreck already has me enamored. Seriously! Three episodes in and we're running full speed into an 80's coke scandal! Whereas RHoAtlanta left me with nothing more than a strange desire to watch The Bad Girls Club, and New York made me miss Sex and the City, NJ in many ways it takes me back to the early days of Orange County, when we didn't care about Gina, Lori and the others and could merely revel in the shocking excess (an Escalade full of clothes for a seven year old's photo shoot?). I could go on forever about this, but I will leave the subject with some wise words from Mo's Mama (an admitted member of the ladies-who-power-lunch set): "Is it just me or are these New Jersey girls fat asses? I thought Real Housewives were supposed to be MILFs. Doesn't matter, I've swallowed the hook already."

NYC Prep

Real life Gossip Girl, minus the poor writing and implausible plot twists with a little Bravo thrown in for good measure. Should be interesting.

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

If you hate her you hate her, and if you love her you love her, so let's not delve into that morass. Curly and I are all atwitter (literally, I'm preparing the Kathy-related tweets in my mind) about her B-list return to the reality TV circuit.

And the rest...

True Blood and Mad Men people! I've gotten hooked on both through the DVDs and couldn't be happier about getting more in the near future.

If none of the above appeals to you, I beg of you to hit up Netflix and get the DVDs of something good, anything good, rather than watch that useless summer reality drivel. Perhaps a little Dawson's Creek for a blast from the past?? More on this whole process at a later date...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Dormant Blog Volcano

Hey, look at that, despite weeks of silence over here in the land of Y&T, our Blogger account hasn't been cancelled.  Surprising.  Anyway, watch out, because there is new material coming your way.
  • A guide to Curly and Mo's strategies of TV show piracy...er...collecting...
  • What we'll be watching the next few long, hot months
  • Season Finale shout-outs, as well as tearful (or not-so-tearful) goodbyes
Aaaand, whatever else we want.  That's what this is about, right?
Peace.