Saturday, November 26, 2011

Preview: Primeval

It's not Doctor Who, but Primeval on BBC America (Saturday, 9pm) is a decent stand-in when the Doc's away.

The show is about a team at the Anomaly Research Center who, you know, trap scary creatures from the past and future, like gigantic alligators and prehistoric raptors. They invade the UK through cracks in time and space.

Click Read More below for an episode description from BBC America.

Preview: Holiday Block Party

From HGTV: Holiday Block Party (Saturday, 8pm) heads to one suburban neighborhood and puts it all on the line, pitting neighbor against neighbor to see who can come up with the most creative, most outrageous and most memorable holiday decorations ever.

On the final day, we'll surprise the homeowners by revealing that two of HGTV's biggest stars, Sabrina Soto and Dina Manzo, have been watching them compete (via live feeds) and will judge them to see who did it the biggest — and the best.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas TV - A Guide to Movies and Specials

The 12 Dates of Christmas
ABC Family (Dec. 11)
Check out this fantastic guide to Christmas TV movies and specials from Scott D. Pierce in the Salt Lake City Tribune (don't sweat the SLC local channels too much).

In addition to all the, ahem, evergreen Christmas TV specials, there are new offerings every year as well, he writes. Because you can never have too much Christmas spirit.

Preview: Jingle All the Way

Hallmark Channel debuts an adorably cute and cutely adorable new animated Christmas special, Jingle All the Way (Friday, 7pm).

It's about a dog - Jingle -  who's on his own at a Christmas tree farm. He's looking for a family. He finds one but they split, leaving it up to Jingle to reclaim his family in time for Christmas.

Review: Hoops & Yoyo Ruin Christmas

Hoops & Yoyo Ruin Christmas (CBS, 8pm) is occasionally cute but it's not really as funny as the title would suggest, writes Rob Owen in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Hoops, the pink one, and Yoyo, the green one, are joined in their adventure by a blue friend, piddles, and they get into a scrape when they hitch a ride on Santa's sleigh and discover how exactly Santa manages to visit every child's home in one night.

Preview: The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story

CBS debuts a new animated Christmas special on Friday at 8:30pm - The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story, based on the book "The Elf on the Shelf."

From CBS: The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story follows one of the many scout elves from the North Pole who helps Santa Claus determine who to put on the naughty and nice lists.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5Qs on Friday: Steven and Chris

Chris Hyndman, Steven Sabados
These days, one of the happiest, most upbeat shows on TV is Live Well Network's Steven and Chris - a Mon-Fri talk show (taped in Toronto) where home decorators Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman talk to celebs, cook, decorate, work on crafts, dole out advice (whatever kind you need) and frequently reach for a cocktail (Chris).

Steven and Chris, who are best known for appearances on Oprah and their old Discovery Channel home makeover show, Designer Guys, spoke to TVFirstLook (for our special pre-Thanksgiving 5Qs on Wednesday) about their show, decorating for Christmas and taping a few episodes in the States.

TVFirstLookSteven and Chris is great on Live Well Network – it’s fun and informative. How do you keep it lively and interesting five days a week?

Preview: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Really, is there any other way to start Thanksgiving than with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (NBC, 9am Thursday)?

From NBC: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates its 80th Anniversary! First time parade host Meredith Vieira joins veteran Matt Lauer for this spectacular, annual celebration.

Thanksgiving Day TV Hightlights

Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro
The New York Daily News' great TV critic David Hinckley previews some of TV's best choices on Thanksgiving Day.

Check it out here: As if eating too much good food weren’t already enough of a concern for many folks over the Thanksgiving holiday, TLC is devoting Thursday to a marathon of Cake Boss episodes, David writes.

Just what we need after that second helping of pumpkin pie, right? Another blizzard of things made from butter and sugar. Fortunately, our ever-expanding universe of cable channels means we can also find plenty of lower-calorie options around the dial over the holiday weekend. And they don’t all involve football, though that also won’t be hard to find.

Preview: The X Factor

On tonight's results show, two of the remaining nine contestants on The X Factor get kicked to the curb. And, while it's not going to happen, my vote is for Melanie Amaro, whose performance last night was good but dull as dirt. Oh, and the formerly shy Melanie is now sporting a whole new (bad) attitude.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old rapper Astro apparently had second thoughts about dissing the show, and blowing his chances at winning the $5 million prize - he's sorry for pouting and stomping last week.

My best guesses on who's getting axed? Country-pop group Lakoda Rayne and folksy (but forgettable) singer Drew. Click on Read More to watch a clip.

Preview: A Very Gaga Thanksgiving

From ABC: On Thanksgiving night (9:30pm) the ABC Television Network will air a 90-minute special, A Very Gaga Thanksgiving.

The broadcast, which was conceived and directed by Lady Gaga, offers an intimate look inside the private life of the award-winning artist as she performs eight songs in front of a small audience filled with her close friends and family. Performances include a duet of "The Lady is a Tramp" with Tony Bennett as well as her newest single, "Marry the Night," "You and I," "The Edge of Glory" and the holiday classic "White Christmas," among other hits.

Preview: Punkin Chunkin

From Science Channel: For 26 years, Punkin Chunkin has hit the skies.

This year, Science Channel (Thanksgiving Day, 8pm) is honoring the backyard engineers who turn pumpkins into projectiles with an inside look at the 2011 championship. The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) is a nonprofit association started in 1986 that hosts the Punkin' Chunkin' World Championships, an event which raises money for scholarships and charitable organizations.

Review: The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical

[The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical (HBO2, 8pm) is a] moving documentary that follows kids from the Mumbai slums as they prepare to sing "The Sound of Music" with the Bombay Chamber Orchestra. With their big dreams and poor backgrounds, they may understand Rodgers and Hammerstein's aspirational music even better than the von Trapps - Melissa Maerz on

Recap: Dancing with the Stars - Finale

ABC's Dancing with the Stars wrapped up Season 13 last night (season 14 kicks off in March). Talk show host Ricki Lake landed in third place and reality star Rob Kardashian came in second. Meaning, JR Martinez went home with the Mirror Ball trophy.

Here are all the details from ABC: 10 weeks ago, 12 stars embarked on a journey to win the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy. Now it's time to find out who bested all the rest in the Season 13 finale of Dancing with the Stars!

Preview: Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!

From the Boomerang kids' network: Boomerang is getting a jump start on the Thanksgiving Holiday with a week of family-targeted programming specials, mini-marathons and yuletide classics that is crowned by the network premiere of Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!

On Wednesday (4pm) and Thursday (9:30pm), Boomerang will present for the first time the 1970 animated fable from Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. “Dr. Seuss,” which underscores the universal message, “a person’s a person no matter how small.” Families will be able to enjoy this timeless fantasy alongside another animated holiday classic, The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't  (1972), which will air on Nov. 23 at 4:30pm and Nov. 24 at 9pm.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preview: Workaholics - Season Finale

The awesomely awesome Workaholics (Comedy Central, 10:30pm) wraps up its incredible second season tonight. Check out a clip. And, don't sweat it, Season Three's already in the works.

And, if you missed it, check out our Q&A with Anders and Blake, right here.

WorkaholicsTuesdays at 10:30/9:30c
Preview - Packing for Hedonism II
Comedy CentralFunny VideosFunny TV Shows

News: Game Show Network to air Dancing with the Stars Reruns

From Game Show Network: GSN announced today that it has acquired the exclusive off-network rights to ABC’s Dancing with the Stars from Disney-ABC Domestic Television, which will make GSN the only network on which previous seasons of the megahit dance competition can be seen.

GSN has acquired seasons 4 through 13 (season 13 will air its final episode tonight on ABC), and will begin airing them in January 2012. The agreement also includes the upcoming 14th season.

Preview: Stacy Francis on the Wendy Williams Show

Stacy Francis
OK, we're still fuming about Stacy Francis getting the boot from The X Factor last week. (Click here to see The X Factor recap we posted after Stacy's elimination).

Stacy, in case you don't know, single-handedly ratcheted up The X Factor from an ordinary singing competition into an extraordinary talent competition. When the show debuted in September, Stacy's emotions were raw, her singing drenched with emotions and her mascara-stained face an instant TV classic. Oh, and Simon Cowell said Stacy's audition was one of the best he's ever seen.

Well, good news, Stacy fans. Stacy talks about The X Factor and her elimination on today's The Wendy Williams Show. (Not sure when Wendy is on by you? Click here).

Preview: Republican Presidential Debate

Newt Gingrich
The field of republican presidential hopefuls has now had five presumptive leaders to take on President Obama next November - Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and, now, former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich.

Which means Newt will be taking most of the punches on tonight's Republican National Security Debate (CNN, 8pm Eastern - live).

Tonight, the candidates focus on national defense, terrorism and international issues. CNN's Wolf Blitzer moderates.

Preview: Dancing with the Stars

If Dancing with the Stars awarded its sparkly disco ball trophy to the best dancer, talk show host Ricki Lake would've been given the mirror ball a few weeks back and we'd now be talking about why you should be watching CBS's Blue Bloods on Fridays (you are, aren't you?).

But, that's not the way Dancing works, of course.

In addition to the judges' scores, TV viewers vote. And, on tonight's Dancing finale (ABC, 9pm), those votes will likely give the mirror ball to J. R. Martinez. Although, reality star Rob Kardashian is currently No. 1 on the leader board.

Preview: The X Factor

The X Factor (Fox, 8pm) rapper Astro says he’s giving the show “one more week” — even though his mother has told him to quit! writes Sean Daly in the New York Post.

The lippy Brooklyn teen — whose real name is Brian Bradley — apologized over the weekend for throwing a hissy fit onstage Thursday when he landed in the bottom two of vote-getters and faced possible elimination.

But now, he contends the show threw him under the bus after an off-camera dispute over a pair of headphones.

Preview: A Perfect Terrorist

From NPR: American David Coleman Headley was one of the leading planners of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 166 people over three days at two five-star hotels, a train station and a small Jewish community center.

Watch A Perfect Terrorist Preview on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Headley, the son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, had been chosen for the mission because he looked like a non-Muslim Westerner. He used those looks — and his U.S. passport — to plan logistics for several of the places attacked in Mumbai.
Headley's role in the Mumbai attacks is the subject of a new Frontline documentary by ProPublica reporter Sebastian Rotella. A Perfect Terrorist — which airs on PBS (9pm).

Preview: Rock Stars

National Geographic Channel debuts a new unscripted on-the-job reality show, Rock Stars, tonight at 10pm.

Here's a program description from NGC: Follow this tight-knit company of rock technicians who plant explosives, manhandle three-hundred pound hydraulic jacks, and set anchors into sheer rock, all while hanging hundreds of feet above the ground.

Sneak Peek: Thanksgiving Day TV Menu

Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro
The New York Daily News' great TV critic David Hinckley previews some of TV's best choices on Thanksgiving Day.

Check it out here: As if eating too much good food weren’t already enough of a concern for many folks over the Thanksgiving holiday, TLC is devoting Thursday to a marathon of Cake Boss episodes, David writes.

Just what we need after that second helping of pumpkin pie, right? Another blizzard of things made from butter and sugar. Fortunately, our ever-expanding universe of cable channels means we can also find plenty of lower-calorie options around the dial over the holiday weekend. And they don’t all involve football, though that also won’t be hard to find.

News: Bravo's Watch What Happens Live is Going Five Nights a Week

Andy Cohen
Bravo is expanding Andy Cohen's late-night talk show Watch What Happens: Live! to five nights a week, the network said Monday, reports Broadcasting & Cable Magazine.

The show, which currently airs at 11pm on Sundays and Mondays, will expand to Sunday through Thursday starting Jan. 8. WWHLwill air live four nights a week with one night live to tape.

The last season of series posted double-digit growth in its ratings, according to Bravo.

Monday, November 21, 2011

News: Elisabeth Shue Replacing Marg Helgenberger on CSI

Elisabeth Shue
From CBS: Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue will join the cast of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, as a series regular, on the CBS Television Network. Her character will be introduced in the episode scheduled to air on Feb. 15, 2012.

Shue will play the newest CSI, fresh off an anger management course, amid rumors that D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) fired her when she worked for him in Seattle.

Recap: American Music Awards

For a good chunk of time last night, the best part of the American Music Awards on ABC was knowing you could flip over to The Amazing Race and The Good Wife on CBS.

It's not that the AMAs were unusually horrible. It's just that they were predictably terrible - though, ultimately redeemed by a few great performances.

For a long, brutal stretch, the show was all about over-produced performances (like the offensively bad Enrique Iglesias); over-hyped standing ovations (for every half-celebrity stomping their boots in Hollywood); overly rehearsed screaming fans who wouldn't sit down or shut up.

Preview: Dancing with the Stars

This is it, kids.

ABC's fun, funny and totally entertaining Dancing with the Stars wraps up season 13 this week - it's way too soon. The two-part finale kicks off tonight at 8pm with the three finalists dancing their last dances.

The finalists are: J. R. Martinez, Ricki Lake and Rob Kardashian - in order of their chances of winning.

Preview: Woody Allen - A Documentary

Part 2 of American Masters' Woody Allen - A Documentary airs tonight on PBS (9pm - check local listings).

Watch Woody Allen: A Documentary on PBS. See more from AMERICAN MASTERS.

From PBS: Iconic writer, director, actor, comedian, and musician Woody Allen allowed his life and creative process to be documented on-camera for the first time.

Review: The Layover

Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain, the star of the Travel Channel’s new series The Layover (9pm), is entertainingly snappish on TV, even though (or perhaps because) we can imagine how disagreeable he would probably be as a neighbor or coworker, writes Tom Conroy in Media Life Magazine.

When he is scornful, as is often the case when he serves as a judge on Top Chef, it’s nice to know we’re safe from his sarcasm. When he is pleased, his enthusiasm feels real.

Review: You Deserve It

Chris Harrison
Just this side of ghastly, the new limited-run series You Deserve It (ABC, 9pm) combines the banality of game show razzle-dazzle with the agony of personal tragedy, writes Kevin McDonough on SouthCoastToday.

Every contestant plays a remarkably involved trivia quiz to win money for a friend or a relative in need. In the episode made available for review, a young woman competes on behalf of her college friend, a bereaved mother of two whose husband drowned only four months prior.

News: Arrested Development is Returning

Break out the blue paint, denim cutoffs and your best chicken dance - Arrested Development is heading to Netflix - from

The series is resuming production and will be available for instant viewing by Netflix subscribers in 2013, the company announced late Friday.

Recap: Dexter

Jennifer Carpenter (Debra)
The main story [on last night's Dexter - Showtime] was Dexter and Debra’s crumbling relationship, writes Claire Zulkey in the Los Angeles Times.

Early in the episode Dexter muses about how children blindly trust their parents, and we then see Deb realizing how much less she can trust her brother than she originally thought. “I took advantage of you,” Dexter apologizes early in the episode, but Deb’s disappointed by him all over again when she learns that he ran off to Nebraska during his time off, which she sees as him opting not to confide in her regarding his anguish over the Trinity Killer rearing his head again.