Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Summer Hiatus: I Can't Get No Satisfaction

I hate the summer hiatus. There is never anything of consequence on TV, and that inevitably leads to me taking my own hiatus from the blogging world. It's as if I am completely incapable of finding anything to blog about when there's nothing new on TV to obsess about. I get bored and yet I also get a life - summer is when I get truly busy, as my mind focuses on things outside of the pretty picture box in my living room. That's not to say I'm not still constantly thinking about my fandoms, but with no new episodes and months of zero new spoilers it starts to feel like there's nothing to say that we haven't already said a hundred times. Caroline has already pointed out that I may want to stop beating certain dead horses that I so desperately like to discuss in our own private conversations, so it's no surprise that I seem to lack any real motivation for blogging during hiatus.

Sure, there are new programs coming out all summer long and you'd think I'd have plenty to occupy my time and my fandom-loving mind. But you would be wrong, because my brain personally finds itself a bit too elitist and snobby to focus any free time on such shows as So You Think You Can Dance, Age of Love, America's Got Talent, or Rock of Love with Bret Michaels.

Okay, so maybe that last one is pretty damn entertaining and maybe I have picked which girl I want to win, but that's totally beside the point.

The only thing I do find myself keeping up with on a regular basis these days is, well, Days. I have become a whore for the soap opera world and it's lack of any realistic plotlines, simply because I'm desperate to 'ship a couple - ANY couple - right now and, quite frankly, Sami and Lucas are doing the damn trick. Am I ashamed? Sure. Does the show completely amuse, entertain and charm me every day with it's stupidity? Hell yes. I won't deny it. But I will blame it on summer hiatus.

For a short while I was thinking Traveler would save me from my hiatus issues, but it turns out that Traveler and I just weren't a match made in TV heaven. I was intrigued by it, and I had quickly started to fall in love with it... but before I knew it, I had missed several episodes and I really could have cared less. Clearly, it wasn't meant to be and I'm back to longing for some sort of televised stimulation during the summer months.

At Caroline's pleading however, I am going to focus all of my efforts on blogging my thoughts and frustrations for the rest of the summer. I can't guarantee it will be anything highly intellectual, but I can promise it will be entertaining.

As soon as I figure out what "it" is going to be...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The X-Files: Bringing Back Baby

Long before Mae and I set our sights on Dr. John Carter and Matthew Fox, we followed a different Carter, a different Fox. The X-Files remains the pinnacle of high-concept television, five years after its series finale.

For years—perhaps even before the series ended—there have been rumblings of a second X-Files feature film. Rumors have come and go, a lawsuit between FOX and Chris Carter has been settled, but this week David Duchovny all-but-confirmed that development is underway; he even admitted he expects a script on his desk this week.

Mae and I are pretty jazzed.

Just last week, I was bad-mouthing Sex and the City for not quitting while ahead, and now I am just so jazzed about the possibility of seeing MY original ass-kickers, Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, back in action.

But before you get started, Mr. Carter, Chaos in General has a few small demands.

First of all, we don’t like what we’re hearing about the flick being a “Monster-of-the-Week” story instead of a continuation of the mythology. “Bite me with the monster plots,” Mae says. “I want my hunt for William.”

Yep, at the end of the day, we want William.

I’d prefer the movie to be called The X-Files: Fight the Really Stupid Mistake You Made in Season Nine. Mae and I both find this film to be an opportunity to get Baby William back. Rather than crying over the fact that she gave him up, like they did in the finale, we want to see them “kicking ass and taking names to get their kid back,” as Mae so eloquently puts it.

No crying, no cuddling, please. And no Mimi Rogers while you’re at it.

I go so far as to request no weddings.

(Caroline doesn’t want to see a wedding? Gasp!)

“I almost wonder if they won’t be kind of like the Order of the Phoenix,” I told Mae last night on IM, done with my day of Harry Potter-induced radio silence. “You know, there’s the really bad guys, the Voldemorts of the X-Files world, if you will, and then the government/ministry who isn’t being very helpful or good. And they are like these vigilante do-gooders. Sort of like Boondock Saints. Or Daredevil.”

“I prefer to think of them as Boondock Saints,” Mae says. “Merely so that I don’t have to picture Ben Affleck in a codpiece.”

After reminding my esteemed colleague that she must have mistook the Garfleck “action” movie for Shakespeare in Love, we got back to business.

What else do we want? Skinner, Ghost!Gunmen, and Gibson Praise, please. Perhaps a fourth X-Files role for Terry O’Quinn who plays Lost’s resident Man of Faith, Locke. (Figure out how to include the Man of Science himself, Matthew Fox, also known as Foxy #2, and I’ll be a very happy camper.)

Things we can live without? Doggett, Reyes, and any kind of shapeshifter.

We acknowledge that a mythology flick may be rather difficult, what with the cast of characters diminished quite seriously: Krycek, the Lone Gunmen, and the Cigarette Smoking Man all met their end in the last year of the show.

“The Cigarette Smoking Man is for reals dead,” says Mae. “I don’t think even I can suspend my disbelief on that anymore.”

“No, we pretty much saw the flesh burning off his face,” I said, and direct you here for proof. He is dead.

Whatevs. It’s not like that son of a bitch was going to be helpful in the search for William.

When it comes down to it, Mae and I are wholeheartedly in. We want to see our favorites—our first favorites—back in action. On the lam, redeemed by the military tribunal, or back at the bureau, we don’t care. So long as we’ve got Mulder, Scully, and William, we’ll be there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Get Your Venti Red-Eye Ready...It's Almost Time for Emmy Nominations

I do this every year, but it never gets less fun. Emmy predictions (of trophies and nominations) give me a sort of thrill, as I anticipate the year when I get 100% of these correct. Maybe it’s this year, maybe it’s not.

Best Actor in a Drama
• Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
• Patrick Dempsey, Grey’s Anatomy
• Matthew Fox, Lost
• James Gandolfini, The Sopranos
• Hugh Laurie, House

Of course the Drs. Sheph(e)(a)rd continued to make me fall in love with them—that is, of course, when they weren’t being assholes. Patrick Dempsey’s post-ferry-crash performance was really the highlight of that arc, although I despised the way he carried out the rest of the season. I really don’t care for i, but it’s going to get nominated, probably. (It took me a long time to figure out that Emmy Predictions should be more realistic than, say, nominating all of the socks from Lost and The Office.) Hugh Laurie is a previous winner, and House is still one of the biggest things coming from the Fox network... I’m predicting, though, that Friday Night Lights is going to take home a lot of trophies, and it’ll probably start with Coach himself.

Best Actress in a Drama

• Courteney Cox, Dirt
• Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
• Evangeline Lilly, Kate Austen, Lost
• Ellen Pompeo, Dr. Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy
• Kyra Sedgwick, Brenda, The Closer

Look, people! Members of my favorite TV families! Courteney Cox is doing something new, a little edgy, and definitively non-Monica. Sally Field is Sally Field, and she’s so good on Brothers and Sisters. I still haven’t watched every episode, but it is just joyful to see her back on television. Kyra Sedgwick is The Closer, and it wouldn’t be the top-rated cable series of all time (or so TNT keeps telling me) without her fantastic performances week after week. Ellen Pompeo is Grey’s Anatomy in the most literal sense, and while she’s not necessarily the greatest character on the show, she is the de facto leader of the ensemble. But it’s Evangeline Lilly, with her gorgeous portrayal of the strongest Kate we’ve seen so far, who stops my heart. The Jate!Hands scene in “The Man from Tallahassee” is enough to merit her an Emmy.

Best Actor in a Comedy
• Zach Braff, Scrubs
• Steve Carell, The Office
• Ricky Gervais, Extras
• Jason Lee, My Name is Earl
• Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock

NBC really does have a monopoly on funnymen right now, even if their ratings are still in the toilet. (Remember Conan’s opening sketch last year at the Emmys when he sang “We got trouble, folks, right here at NBC”? Yeah, things haven’t gotten better.) But, Jesus, Steve Carell is hilarious. So are Jason Lee and Tracy Morgan. Zach Braff is kind of a wild card, because he’s talented, but no comic genius. I wouldn’t peg him to win this category, but he could eke out a much-deserved nomination. Ricky Gervais could get nominated, too, for the brilliance that is Extras, although it would be a slap in the face to the truly hilarious men of American television comedy.

Best Actress in a Comedy
• America Ferrara, Ugly Betty
• Tina Fey, 30 Rock
• Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
• Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
• Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Program

Tina Fey is a new kind of TV woman, one who I very much appreciate. America Ferrara is the face of Ugly Betty, a role that requires, I’m sure, a great deal of guts and dedication. She’s not the greatest actress I’ve ever watched, but neither is Nicole Kidman, and she won a freakin’ Oscar for wearing Virginia Woolf’s nose, if you know what I mean. Sarah Silverman is so so funny, and while I’m not sure she’s in the right category, she’s still an hysterical comedian. And then there are my two favorite actresses of all time. Mary-Louise Parker has basically inspired my career choice, which is pathetic but true. She’s so unbelievably talented that she turned me on to pay-cable for the first time in my life. Weeds remains the one non-network show I make a point to watch weekly. And Felicity Huffman was the shining star of a so-so Desperate Housewives season. The episode “Bang,” her Emmy submission, was phenomenal. Let’s face it: I just want to see Ann Stark face off with Amy Gardner.

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

• Dave Annable, Brothers & Sisters
• Michael Emerson, Lost
• Robert Iler, The Sopranos
• T.R. Knight, Grey's Anatomy
• Masi Oka, Heroes

Three of these (Annable, Iler, and Oka) are from shows with large ensembles, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see co-stars replace any of them. They’re on acclaimed shows, and while they are fantastic supporters, they don’t necessarily stand out ahead of the pack. Hopefully this won’t lead to Brothers & Sisters or Heroes getting shut out (Mae would flip), although I wouldn’t be disappointed with a non-Sopranos category. T.R. Knight’s got the Hollywood gossip machine working majorly in his favor, and it would be a nice opportunity to support the gays. The Emmys haven’t really had the chance to do that since Will and Grace got bad. And Michael Emerson is such a great villain. It’s his beady little eyes (the Jason eyes we call them in my family) and his creepy little voice. He’s so scary! And apparently very nice in real life, which means he must be a very good actor.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
• Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy
• Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost
• Sarah Paulson, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
• Aida Turturro, The Sopranos
• Kate Walsh, Grey's Anatomy

This is a huge category, and also the category I hope to one day win. Elizabeth Mitchell is great as Juliet, even though I basically want to hurt her, and Sarah Paulson was the one saving grace of an otherwise sad Studio 60. Grey’s Anatomy continues to have the best ensemble, while still allowing characters to step into the spotlight. For Katherine Heigl’s Izzie, this resulted from her wide range of scene-stealing. In episode one, she had taken to the bathroom floor, in the ferry crash she was using a power drill to perform a craniotomy, and by the finale she was pining for George. It’s Kate Walsh, though, who has truly made a name for herself, so much so that they’re spinning her off. She’s the most high-profile supporting actress on television right now, and I would be shocked if she didn’t get a nod.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

• Danny DeVito, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
• Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
• Jeremy Piven, Entourage
• Ethan Suplee, My Name is Earl
• Rainn Wilson, The Office

Probably the category I am least familiar with, and one chock-full of big personalities. Ethan Suplee’s sweet-but-stupid Randy is one of the most huggable guys on television, and Jeremy Piven plays the opposite—but just as hilariously. Neil Patrick Harris could be the nod for How I Met Your Mother, a show that’s not going to win Best Comedy, but at least deserves something. My money stays on Rainn Wilson, who was way funnier than John Krasinski this year. (Sorry, Jim, I love you, but you were mean to Pam.)

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
• Jenna Fischer, The Office
• Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
• Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
• Jaime Pressly, My Name is Earl
• Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

Jenna Fischer did some serious back-breaking work this year (har har), and she deserves this award. She’s so funny, so charming, so precious... Her face there in the last moments of the finale was just the happiest face I’ve ever seen. The others, I’m sorry to say, are seat-fillers, at least in my Emmy predictions. They’re all wonderfully talented, funny ladies, but they just don’t live up to Fancy New Beesly.

Best Drama
Friday Night Lights
Grey’s Anatomy
Heroes
Lost
The Sopranos

Lost is back on track and deserves back on the list after last year’s shut-out. (Who didn’t love Jorge Garcia’s Emmy night joke during Conan’s opening, though: “Dude, we kinda weren’t invited.”) Heroes and Friday Night Lights are the saving grace of NBC, and Grey’s had 24 episodes of greatness (#25 was just horrible), and The Sopranos has one last chance to piss me off. Nobody’s got a lock on this one.

Best Comedy

30 Rock
Two and a Half Men
The Office
Ugly Betty
Weeds

The buzz is on for Two and a Half Men, although I DON’T GET IT. Whatever, Emmys, keep watching washed-up CBS non-coms. The real laughs are, of course, over at NBC, with 30 Rock and The Office. Weeds is brilliant, too, and in an unconventional way. And Ugly Betty remains boring with its one joke, but it’s a pretty funny one joke.

That’s it. I’m probably way off this year, but I’ll see you July 19 for the nominations! Big day!