Saturday, September 3, 2011

Preview: Doctor Who

Doctor Who comes to the rescue of kid who's "scared of everything," as the kid's dad says. Doctor Who does what he does -- you know, crashes through pesky time and space barriers -- to help the kid out. As Doctor Who says, "monsters are real."

On tonight's Doctor Who at 9/8c on BBC America.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sneak Peek: Community

Community is easily one of the most hit-or-miss sitcoms out there, maybe ever. But, oh joy, those hits make the duds worth it. If you're looking forward to the new season of Community (Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8/7c), and John Goodman, check out this just-released preview.

News: The X Factor

Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul return to the judges table, but this time on The X Factor (Fox, Wednesday, Sept. 21).

Until then, Simon Cowell and Fox will continue to build anticipation with a PR drip that includes a one-hour radio preview, called The X-Factor: The Judges' Ultimate Picks, starting Saturday.

Click here, The X Factor: The Judges' Ultimate Picks, for stations broadcasting it in your area.

Preview: Curb Your Enthusiasm

There are only two more episodes of the Curb Your Enthusiasm New York season. This week (Sunday at 10pm), Larry suffers from Mister Softee flashbacks. On next week's finale, Larry has a showdown with Michael J. Fox.

Preview: US Open

Roger Federer
Photo: Philip Hall, US Open
Here is the schedule for the US Open tennis tournament on CBS this weekend.

Program, Time (ET)
Saturday, Sept. 3
US Open
11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Men's and Women's Third Round
Sunday, Sept. 4
US Open
11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Men's Third and Women's Fourth Round
Monday, Sept. 5
US Open
11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Men's and Women's Fourth Round

Preview: Man, Woman, Wild

I don't understand the whole concept of chasing an adrenaline rush. Or trying to survive in the wilderness alone. Or staying in a hotel without room service (but I digress).

I'm not saying those things are bad, or no one should enjoy them. It's just that I don't get it. I do enjoy pretty, though, like pretty blue oceans (see the clip). And for that reason alone I am intrigued by Man, Woman, Wild, a new Discovery Channel show premiering on Friday at 9pm.

Click Read More to see a program description from Discovery.

Preview: Game Time: Tackling the Past

Game Time: Tackling the Past (Saturday, 8/7c), from NBC: Pro football star Jake Walker (Ryan McPartlin, Chuck) is living the dream…or so he thinks.

The veteran tight end is a fan favorite and on pace to set the all-time receiving yards record that will guarantee him a spot in the Hall of Fame when he receives an unexpected call from his brother Dean (Josh Braaten, "Semi-Pro") - their father Frank (Beau Bridges) has suffered a major heart attack.

Review: Dinosaur Revolution

Discovery channel’s Dinosaur Revolution, a four-hour event airing over two weekends beginning Sept. 4, combines state-of-the-art science, terrific CGI and imaginative storytelling that might even make viewers forget Discovery’s previously awesome effort in this field, Walking With Dinosaurs, writes Aaron Barnhart in the Kansas City Star.

Preview: The Good Wife

CBS's Emmy-nominated The Good Wife doesn't return for its third season until Sunday, Sept. 25 at 9/8c. So, until there's a chance to get all caught up with The Good Wife: A New Beginning (Sunday at 9:30pm). Check out this trailer.

Preview: Roseanne's Nuts

Let's face it. OnTV, 10pm on Friday is something very similar to having a last nail nailed into your coffin. Kids, it ain't good.

That appears to be the fate of Roseanne's Nuts, a reality show with Roseanne Barr that's quite good. Well, if not good, exactly, then quite addictive. While the show relies a bit too heavily on gimmicks, Roseanne is an interesting character and her family and Hollywood friends (especially Phyllis Diller) are entertaining.

Back-to-back episodes tonight at 10pm and 10:30pm on Lifetime.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

News: The Big C

Laura Linney
From Showtime: As the powerful second season of The Big C draws to a shocking conclusion on Monday, Sept. 26, Showtime has picked up a third season of the critically-acclaimed comedy series starring Laura Linney as a reserved, suburban wife/mother/teacher whose terminal cancer diagnosis forces her to shake up her life and find the light side of a dark situation.

Ten new episodes will go into production starting early next year for debut in the second quarter of 2012. The Big C is created and written by Darlene Hunt, who serves as executive producer, along with showrunner Jenny Bicks, Laura Linney, Neal H. Moritz and Vivian Cannon. It is produced by Sony Pictures Television.

Preview: The First 48

Deputy Juan Viramontes
The best unscripted show on TV is The First 48 on A&E (tonight, 9pm).

That's a big statement, but the show has proved over and again that its formula is perfect. That formula is watching homicide investigators, elbow to elbow, as they live through the highs, lows and hopeless lows of tracking down killers. The stories are real, and the up-close conversations with murderers, witnesses and grieving family members are so real that you can't help but feel bad for everyone involved.

Click Read More for an episode description from A&E.

News: The Walking Dead Season 2

Rick Grimes
From AMC's Dispatches from the Set: The Walking Dead's (Oct. 16) executive producer and show-runner Glen Mazzara describes turning Rick into a bad guy, explains what The Walking Dead has in common with police dramas and shares the Number 1 rule for writing horror.
New Dispatches From the Set are released every week throughout the production.

Q: How did your family react to the news you'd been named The Walking Dead's show-runner?
A: A lot of people are lining up to be zombies. I actually brought my sons over to Greg Nicotero's workshop, and part of me is I want to be made a zombie too. So maybe that will be a cameo some day, I don't know. My son seemed to have a lot of unique ways to kill zombies. None that I really am interested in putting on TV, but that's a big topic of conversation at the dinner table.

Click the headline to read the entire Q&A.

Preview: Ugly Americans

On tonight's Ugly Americans (10:30pm), from Comedy Central: With Mark working all the time, Randall feels neglected, so he decides that they should spend more time together to decide if they should stay roommates. And Grimes's Mummy (Christine Baranski) returns from the dead, only to find fault with everything Grimes is doing.

News: Call Me Fitz Snags Six Geminis

Jason Priestley
Call Me Fitz, HBO Canada’s raucous comedy starring Jason Priestley, scored the largest number of Geminis last night, raking in six including best direction in a comedy and kudos for supporting cast members Ernie Grunwald and Rachel Blanchard, writes Gayle MacDonald in The Globe and Mail.

In the second consecutive awards ceremony in Toronto, CBC’s historical miniseries Pillars of the Earth and The Borgias each earned three awards, while a triumvirate was also handed out to the long-running teen drama Degrassi, CTV’s Flashpoint, and History Television’s The Kennedys.

Sneak Peek: The Amazing Race

CBS's Emmy winning reality show, The Amazing Race, returns on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8/7c. Check out the cast.

Preview: Sweet Home Alabama Finale

Haven't seen Sweet Home Alabama? Let me catch you up before tonight's finale (CMT, 9pm).

It's similar to, no, exactly like The Bachelorette. Except because it's CMT, the bachelorette (Devin -- she says "I feel like that..." a lot) and the guys, who declare their undying love to her, are a li'l bit country.

Watch last week's Sweet Home Alabama now, and check out CMT tonight.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Preview: The Franchise Season Finale

From Showtime: As the Giants continue to battle through injuries to keep their playoff hopes alive, the season finale of The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants (10pm) examines the state of the team.

Cameras are permitted into a recent meeting with Manager Bruce Bochy, GM Brian Sabean and other members of the Giants front office as they discuss where the team stands with a month left to go in the 2011 season.

Stats: Weather Channel Record Ratings

Photo: Alexander Higgins
By television ratings standards, Hurricane Irene was the biggest storm system in the Weather Channel’s 29-year history, writes Brian Stelter in the New York Times.

Ratings for the channel soared over the weekend as Irene made landfall three times along the East Coast. Saturday represented the channel’s highest-rated whole day in its history. For a quarter-hour that day, as Irene soaked the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the channel had more than four million viewers, surpassing its peak quarter-hour viewership of 3.93 million during Hurricane Katrina.

Stats: TV Ratings Recap

You may have heard by now that MTV scored its best-ever ratings for this past weekend's 2011 Video Music Awards (12.4 million people). But did you know VMA was the most-watched show of the week? Period.
Lady Gaga and Britney Spears
The VMAs this year were spectacular. No host, but loads of talent. Lady Gaga opened the show with a controversial "she's a man" act that still has a lot of fans saying, "She's trying too hard."

The night's highlights included a truly spectacular performance by Brit singer Adele and Lil Wayne's rocking show closer. All that was intermingled with some duds, for sure (Hi, Chris Brown). But, no matter what you think of Beyonce, she was glowing as only a mom-to-be can when she surprised the world with a baby bump.

Click on Stats for details on the week's ratings.

Preview: Dark Matters

Dark Matters: Twisted But True debuts tonight at 10pm on Science Channel with host John Noble. Looks creepy, but intriguing.

Preview: Law & Order UK

BBC America has been winning me over for the past few years, notably with Graham Norton--the Saturday night talk show that, no joke, may just be the happiest hour on TV.

BBCA really upped its stature with the ongoing Doctor Who--a great show by any measure. Top Gear? Love ya, mean it. And now its Wednesday night is the network's Dramaville block, which includes The Hour and Law & Order: UK.

Preview: Dance Moms

My guiltiest guilty pleasure this summer is Dance Moms (tonight at 10/9c), a Lifetime reality show that is as close to a soap opera as you'll find on primetime TV these days. The show revolves around Abby Lee Miller--a longtime dance teacher in Pittsburgh.

Abby is, well, crazy (but very talented, well respected and, I'm sure, a lovely human being). She primarily teaches young girls to dance, while their moms hang out and watch their daughters go through rigorous training with Abby. Let's just say tensions run high--watch the clip.

Preview: Top Chef Just Desserts

Bravo's Top Chef Just Desserts (Bravo, 10pm), is one of those shows that, no matter how many attempts I give it, I just don't get. Everyone kind of seems grumpy--especially the judges. But also the contestants.

Why so grumpy, peeps?

Yet, as a TV critic, I do realize that there are aspects to a show that make it a high-quality, high-caliber show worth recommending, even if I don't love it. Such is the case here. People, I give you Just Desserts. Watch this clip and, well, judge for yourself.

Preview: Primetime Nightline's (Extra)Ordinary Family

Photo: Cheryl Kilodavis
From ABC News: Young boys who say they are really little girls. Girls who say they want to become men. And their families who help cope with their children's extraordinary decisions are the people profiled in this week's edition of Primetime Nightline (tonight at 10/9c).

From a 10-year-old who has felt trapped in the wrong body for years to a "trans-regret," a man who is one of the few people in the world to have changed his gender from a man to a woman and back again, Primetime Nightline looks at the issues surrounding transgender.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sneak Peek: America's Next Top Model

The new season of the CW's America's Next Top Model kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9pm. Check out this just-released sneak peek interview.

News: Steven and Chris Join Live Well Network

The hit CBC daytime talk show, Steven and Chris will debut on the Live Well Network this fall as it returns for a second season in US syndication.
Hosts Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman have been fixtures in daytime for more than 10 years including their long-running The Designer Guys.

Review: Quirky

Plainly shot and largely drama-free, Quirky (Sundance Channel, 10pm) is little more than an infomercial for the company, writes Jon Caramanica in the New York Times.

This means scenes of industrious young people in semi-fashionable clothing taking to sketchpads, which are less exciting than the scenes in which an inventor tells those same people that their sketches aren’t good enough.       

News: Dancing with the Stars

Chaz Bono
ABC's celebrity lineup for the 13th season of Dancing with the Stars hasn't exactly been a well-kept secret the past 24 hours. The big "gets?" Chaz Bono. CNN Headline News commentator, the love-her-or-hate-her Nancy Grace. And tabloid star, and former star-star, David Arquette.

Click Read More to get the complete list, courtesy of ABC.

Preview: Big Sexy

"Limited run" can be an ominous sign for a new TV show, and I suspect that's the case with Big Sexy, which debuts tonight at 10pm on TLC. Check out the preview.

Preview: Chopped Champions

Duff Goldman
It was just yesterday, wasn't it, that I was complaining how much I hate Food Network and it's wall-to-wall competitions? I made reference to the quiet dignity of PBS's America's Test Kitchen.

OK, I am now forced to confess that I don't hate all of Food Network's competition shows. I'm forced to because tonight is the premiere of Chopped Champions - a spinoff of reality show Chopped, hosted by the quietly dignified Ted Allen.

On Champions, celebrity chefs and Chopped judges duke it out.

Stats: MTV VMAs Breaks Ratings Records

Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards drew a whopping 12.4 million viewers to become the most watched program in the net's history, writes Stuart Levine in Variety.

In the 12-34 demo, according to Nielsen estimates, the kudocast was up 9% from 2010 with a 10.8 rating/8.5 million viewers. That's the all-time record for any MTV telecast in the demo and the biggest aud in the demo in 2011 for any cabler.

Preview: 9/11 Where Were You?

9/11: Where Were You? (National Geographic Channel, 10pm), captures the life-and-death decisions people made amid the chaos of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath.

These decisions affected not only individual lives but often the lives of others in unexpected and profound ways. We meet the Federal Aviation Administration national operations manager who gave the unprecedented order to ground all commercial air traffic in the U.S. and a policeman who rushed to the scene of the World Trade Center.

Preview: POV - Armadillo

On POV, tonight at 10pm on PBS: In 2009, Janus Metz and cameraman Lars Skree accompanied a platoon of Danish soldiers to Armadillo, a combat operations base in southern Afghanistan.

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Monday, August 29, 2011

News: Absolutely Fabulous Specials

From BBC America: Today (August 29), BBC America and the Logo network announced that Absolutely Fabulous would return to American television in three brand-new specials to celebrate the landmark Britcom’s 20th anniversary.

The sleazy, boozy antics of overweight PR exec Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and her needle-thin editor mate Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) were widely imitated but never bettered. (Talking to you, Cybill Shepherd and Christine Baranski.) The trio of upcoming specials will reunite the aging addicts with their fine supporting cast – Saffy (Julia Sawalha), Eddy’s bookish, priggish daughter; Bubble (Jane Horrocks), Eddy’s addlepated assistant; and of course, Mrs. Monsoon (June Whitfield), Eddy’s cutting and cunning mum.

Preview: PoliticsNation

Al Sharpton
Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and minister, has been named host of PoliticsNation, a nightly program airing weeknights live (debuts tonight, August 29, at 6pm Eastern Time on MSNBC), according to MSNBC.

In his new role, Sharpton will lead a discussion of the top headlines, bringing viewers his take on events in his signature style.

Recap: MTV Video Music Awards 2011

There were so many great moments last night on MTV's Video Music Awards that it's actually quite easy to forgive the low-lights (Chris Brown lip-synching comes to mind).

The highlights culminated with Adele. Check out her historic first-time VMA performance--truly amazing.

Click here for a full rundown of winners: VMA Winners.

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Adele

Recap: Hurricane Irene

Over the weekend, Hurricane Irene caused death, damage and untold inconvenience for millions of Americans along the East Coast. While the destruction is very real, and will continue for some time, we can be thankful the destruction was not as severe as initially feared.

Like a lot of people, I was glued to TV all weekend (the Internet, for me, doesn't really cut it for major news events like this). While watching endless hours of Hurricane Irene coverage, it occured to me that Fox News did the best job that's required for major news events: Their coverage was exhaustive and, this can't be said for most networks, entertaining.

Preview: The Big C

The critically acclaimed The Big C (Showtime, tonight at 10:30pm) continues to rack up critical acclaim. Laura Linney (Cathy) is a 2011 Emmy nominee for Oustanding Lead Actress in a Comedy (you know, Best Actress).

Plus, major bonus, the great Oliver Platt stars at Cathy's husband.

Review: Death Valley

MTV’s new comedy Death Valley is purportedly a mockumentary, but it forgoes the fake interviews and is shot like a standard single-camera comedy, with only occasional bits of documentary-style footage, writes Tom Conroy in Media Life Magazine.

But it uses the presence of a documentary crew to satirize the way we all try to shape our public personas. The show also benefits from smart, funny scripts and a cast that’s far more talented than MTV’s usual collections of beginners.

Preview: Top Gear

I know what you're thinking. "I hate Top Gear." That may be true, but I can't help but think that, perhaps, you haven't seen it. Or, maybe you haven't given it a proper chance to sink its talons into you.

Or maybe you really do hate it. If so, the rest of us will be watching a new episode on Monday at 9/8c on BBC America.

Special Preview: 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Programming

Most TV networks and news channels will air special programming to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Some of those specials are already starting to air, including CIA Confidential: 9/11 Mastermind, tonight at 10pm on National Geographic Channel.

See the clip below.

For a full rundown of 9/11 programming from today through Sept. 11, check out this in-depth TV listing from the Los Angeles Times blog (scroll down to the Aug. 26, 2011 entry; 7:32pm).

Preview: Crave

There is so much I can't stand about Food Network these days (specifically, really loud competition shows). So, it's tough to actually recommend watching any new Food Network show.

But, realizing that I may be alone in obsessing over the quiet fantastic-ness that is PBS's America's Test Kitchen, I'll give a shout out to Crave, a new Food Network show premiering tonight at 8:30pm. Who know? Maybe it's good. Check out this preview and judge for yourself.

News: Leah Remini Confirms The Talk Exit

It’s official: Leah Remini will not return to The Talk this fall, reports Megan Masters in TV|Line.

The outspoken actress has confirmed what has widely been reported in recent weeks: CBS has declined to invite her back for the talk show’s second season.