Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dog days open thread

I've got nothing today, people. No column, no show I watched last night to blog on (I went with the real Yankees over the "Bronx is Burning" finale, which I'll get to later in the week), no remaining "Freaks and Geeks" episodes. So it's open thread time, where you can ask any questions, post on shows I've skipped lately, whatever.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alan, I know you've only been a marginal fan at best of Big Love this summer, but just wanted to get your thoughts on the finale.

Also, I know it's still two weeks away, but any early thoughts on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

bill said...

The best Monday Night Football--watching "Fan Zone" on Fox Soccer Channel. Whatever English Premier League teams are playing, they take two drunk and incomprehensible fans and let them yell at each other and the game for an hour and a half. Most of the time I need close captioning to understand what the hell they're saying.

Used to come on randomly in the middle of the night, now it looks like FSC has moved it to 8:30pm (EST) on Mondays. More sports should do this.

Blankity-Blank said...

On Monday night, abc Family's Greek went from pleasant surpise to really good show. I'm not suggesting you (or anyone) start watching regularly, because that never goes well (my suggesting things, not you watching things regularly) but I feel like it has been completely ignored based mostly on the fact that it's on abc Family and thusly can't possibly be funny or in any way realistic. Which just isn't the case.

Homertojeebus said...

Alan,
I wanted to know if you had a chance to check out my youtube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/homertojeebus
We produce a show called The Jung Jurks. It's a weird mixture of political talk, humor, and science fiction. I'd love your input. Of particular interest might be our recently posted Battlestar Galactica show intro.

Dark Tyler said...

Since this is an open thread, it's a great chance for someone (me) to mention that ABC has ordered a put pilot for Tim Minear's next canceled show, "Miracle". From the description it sounds like, basically, "Wonderfalls, Round Two".

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

bill said...

Here's a question. You're hired to save a dying network. You need a guaranteed hit comedy and a guaranteed hit drama. Who do you hire to produce/write for each?

Awards would be nice, but first objective is viewers and lots of them.

So said...

I was just wondering if either or both The Winner and Andy Barker, P.I. were coming back this season? I am doubtful, but holding out hope. I thought they were both hilarious.

BH said...

How come John Francis Daley has never appeared in any of Apatow's movies? It seems like almost everybody else that he has worked with keeps showing up.

Chris W said...

I've listened to many many commentaries on televised comedies but there's always been a question that never really gets answered for me. When a show like The Simpsons has something like twenty writers and only one person gets credit for the episode, how much of that episode did the person actually write and how much was community written? Is the person with the credit just the guy who's typing up all the jokes and story lines written by the writer's room?

jim treacher said...

How about that Jeff Fahey, huh? I really liked The Marshal (especially the episode with Joey Pants!), and I'm geeked that he's going to be on Lost. Jacob, perhaps?

Adam said...

Damn, I wish we could talk about that Bronx is Burning finale, but I don't want to spoil the ending.

BF said...

Do the Yankees win?

dez said...

Is "The Kill Point" going to get the DVD treatment?

Edward Copeland said...

Have you been keeping up with Saving Grace? While the show certainly has its weaknesses, most of it is so fun that it's what I'm enjoying most of what's currently on. I'm also enjoying all the inside Oklahoma City jokes that only a resident or former resident can pick up on. They said this week there are only three episodes left, and it seems as if it just got started, though at least it's already been renewed for a second 16-episode season. I also wondered if you'd seen (unless I missed it here) that David Milch is developing a new 1970s-based cop show for HBO, casting further doubts on any hopes of those Deadwood movies.

Rickey Henderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jefferson said...

Just a friendly reminder. If you need to pass the dog days period we are in, Friday Night Lights Season 1 juts came out. Off of work today and doing a marathon. You can get it at Best Buy for only $19.99!! That's like dirt cheap and the price of a regular movie on DVD. This show is crack and if you just give it a try, you will be hooked. Okay, I am done with the plug for the day.

"Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, CAN'T LOSE!"

Rickey Henderson said...

Yeah, it's definitely the dog days of summer. Aside from suffering through recent Mets games, Rickey really hasn't been watching tv all that much.

Alan, do you watch "Heroes" at all? If not, it's definitely worth a peek now that its out on DVD. Ditto for "Friday Night Lights".

Dave said...

Alan, are you watching Burn Notice on USA? It's not great television, but it's fun, and I look forward to it more than most anything else that's on this summer.

David J. Loehr said...

Have you gotten a chance to check out those Fry and Laurie dvd's yet?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Boy, you guys don't mess around. I go out for a couple of hours and come back to loads and loads of questions. I have to watch a few "Curb Your Enthusiasm"s before I do a conference call with Larry David in 90 minutes, but I'll try to hit as many answers as I can while I can, then do the rest after Larry gets done insulting us again.

Alan, I know you've only been a marginal fan at best of Big Love this summer, but just wanted to get your thoughts on the finale.

Same reaction as usual: the stuff with the female castmembers was superb (particularly Barb coming out to the neighbor and Sarah saying goodbye to her brother), while the Juniper Creek stuff bored me. I really disliked Roman, but Alby is, if anything, an even less interesting villain, as he's just blatantly self-interested, where with Roman there was always ambiguity about whether he believed he was the prophet or just used that as an excuse to wield power. Leaving Alby in power and sending Roman to jail doesn't make me optimistic that this part of the show will be diminished when it comes back next year.

On Monday night, abc Family's Greek went from pleasant surpise to really good show.

A few people have recommended Greek to me. The first episode didn't do a whole lot for me (didn't dislike it, but didn't laugh much), but I may have to track down the rest of the season at some point.

Homertojeebus, haven't had a chance to watch your shows yet. Sorry. Drop me an e-mail (asepinwall(at)starledger.com) so I can contact you directly if/when I do.

Back later with more snappy answers to not-so-stupid questions.

Scott Tobias said...

Alan-- Do you have an idea yet what new shows you'll be covering on a week-by-week basis here at "What's Alan Watching?" I'm assuming TELL ME YOU LOVE ME is a lock, but what else? DIRTY SEXY MONEY? REAPER? PUSHING DAISIES? None of the above? Always fun to watch along with you on these things.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Here's a question. You're hired to save a dying network. You need a guaranteed hit comedy and a guaranteed hit drama. Who do you hire to produce/write for each?

Phil Rosenthal for the former (he's available and has said he's interested in getting back in the game). Latter is tougher, as there's nobody out there with an automatic golden touch. The Bruckheimer/Littman shows fail away from CBS, Dick Wolf's stuff doesn't work without the L&O brand name (and not even then all the time), JJ Abrams' company isn't a hit factory outside of Lost, and there are a bunch of guys whose stuff I like who don't have much of a commercial track record (say, Jason Smilovic). Let me think on that some more and get back to you.

Homertojeebus said...

Alan,
will do! It would be my supreme honor to get a review from you. Even a pan. You can also message me on my youtube account.
I see that Maria Melitto is back on Countdown for AI. Any chance you'll pop up there again? Maybe if there's a contestant from Joisey?

Anonymous said...

how are Larry and the new Curb Your Enthusiasms?

Figgsrock2 said...

Alan,

I see Dave above beat me to the question, but I'd also like to know your take on Burn Notice. It doesn't reinvent the wheel (It reminds me of Rockford Files a whole lot, which I guess shows my age), but I think Bruce Campbell is superb in it, and I'm always happy to see him drawing a steady paycheck. As for someone who pretty much concentrates only on baseball from the end of May sweeps to November sweeps, its a great show to watch on an off night.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And I'm back. Surprisingly low-energy conference call. I guess Larry's funnier when he can see the people he's about to heckle.

I was just wondering if either or both The Winner and Andy Barker, P.I. were coming back this season?

Sorry. Both are kaput.

How come John Francis Daley has never appeared in any of Apatow's movies? It seems like almost everybody else that he has worked with keeps showing up.

Don't know. I don't think it's a falling out thing, as they get on just fine during the various F&G DVD commentaries. With Linda Cardellini, at least you can credit it to whatever awkwardness must exist over her break-up with Segel (still an inner circle Apatow player). Maybe the schedules just haven't worked?

(Also, Daley did appear in an episode or two of "Clark and Michael," which at this point is one degree at most removed from the Apatow juggernaut.)

When a show like The Simpsons has something like twenty writers and only one person gets credit for the episode, how much of that episode did the person actually write and how much was community written? Is the person with the credit just the guy who's typing up all the jokes and story lines written by the writer's room?

Depends on the show, and even the season. Simpsons, from what I understand, is currently one of the most room-written shows in the business, but I don't know that that was always the case. Like, I can tell the difference between a Greg Daniels script and a John Swartzwelder script, which suggests each man had more personal control over it.

A good guy to ask that one to might be Ken Levine. Even though he only wrote a couple of Simpsons eps back in the early days, he's very up on the environments of various writers rooms. We talked about it a bit during my interview with him about the Sitcom Room, but I can't remember all the specifics right now.

How about that Jeff Fahey, huh? I really liked The Marshal (especially the episode with Joey Pants!), and I'm geeked that he's going to be on Lost. Jacob, perhaps?

I've loved Fahey ever since "Silverado" (which may be the subject of a post for The House Next Door that Matt keeps trying to talk me into writing), and "The Marshall" was really underrated. However, the photo accompanying the EW article that announced the casting (apparently from "Death Proof") creeps me the hell out. Be a waste of him to cast him as the invisible Jacob, I would think.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Damn, I wish we could talk about that Bronx is Burning finale, but I don't want to spoil the ending.

Quiet, you. I still don't know how it ends. My fourth birthday was the morning after Game 6, and I was sent to bed early without getting to see what happened.

Is "The Kill Point" going to get the DVD treatment?

I would assume so, but don't know at present.

Have you been keeping up with Saving Grace?

Yup. Like I mentioned last week, it'd be a really good show if we never actually had to see Grace work a case, as my brain starts switching off from boredom whenever she's off investigating stuff. The rest of the show is terrific, but as with so many other series, I'm suffering from overwhelming procedural-fatigue.

I also wondered if you'd seen (unless I missed it here) that David Milch is developing a new 1970s-based cop show for HBO, casting further doubts on any hopes of those Deadwood movies.

You missed it here

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, do you watch "Heroes" at all?

Yes, I do.

I watched a bit of the DVD set. The problem, as one reviewer (I think in EW) pointed out, is that the show is built so much on surprise that it's not a lot of fun for repeat viewing. The extras are cool, though, and it was interesting to finally see the original 73-minute pilot with the terrorism subplot that they cut out.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, are you watching Burn Notice on USA? It's not great television, but it's fun, and I look forward to it more than most anything else that's on this summer.

I was thinking about blogging on it this week, only to realize that it's being pre-empted for a few weeks because of USA's tennis coverage.

"Burn Notice" has definitely grown on me, as I was only slightly above lukewarm in my review of the pilot. They're letting Jeffrey Donovan be funnier, they're using the great Bruce Campbell more, they're not shying away from the MacGyver/A-Team aspects where Michael cooks up deadly weapons out of ordinary household objects, etc.

At the same time, it's also a show I only watch while multi-tasking, as I'm not sure it's good enough to hold my attention if I'm not also folding laundry, surfing the web, etc. Still, a nice summer treat.

Have you gotten a chance to check out those Fry and Laurie dvd's yet?

Wow, good memory. Sadly, no. Things are pretty much dead here, but I have approximately 1900 hours of Ken Burns' "The War" to suffer through, which is eating up much of my viewing time.

Anonymous said...

Since this is an open thread, it's a great chance for someone (me) to mention that ABC has ordered a put pilot for Tim Minear's next canceled show, "Miracle". From the description it sounds like, basically, "Wonderfalls, Round Two".

If picked up, will this see more than two episodes before cancellation?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan-- Do you have an idea yet what new shows you'll be covering on a week-by-week basis here at "What's Alan Watching?" I'm assuming TELL ME YOU LOVE ME is a lock, but what else? DIRTY SEXY MONEY? REAPER? PUSHING DAISIES? None of the above? Always fun to watch along with you on these things.

Scott, as I recall from last year (the first time the blog was operational at the start of a season), I blogged pretty much everything I had seen for the first week or two (though in some cases the posts would be little more than a link back to the previous day's column review and an invitation to comment). After that, it came down to time management and interest. Only so many hours in the day and so many DVRs in the house (plus whatever shows I can stream at the office if it comes to that and I have the time), so the bad stuff's going to fall off the radar pretty quickly, unless it's one of those fascinating trainwrecks like Studio City on the Sunset Strip.

how are Larry and the new Curb Your Enthusiasms?

I've seen the first three, and while the premiere's kind of a dud, the next two are better than almost anything from last season. I am pleased.

dez said...

I've loved Fahey ever since "Silverado" (which may be the subject of a post for The House Next Door that Matt keeps trying to talk me into writing), and "The Marshall" was really underrated.

I've loved him since his soap opera days. I saw him first--you stay away from him, you hussy! :-D

"Burn Notice" has much improved since the beginning and is worth sitting and watching (especially if you TiVo it so you can blast through the 10,001 commercials USA is heir to, yeesh). Of course, you know how much I love Bruce Campbell, so you might want to take my opinion with a large grain.

jg said...

Any thoughts on Springsteen's "Radio Nowhere"?

Taleena said...

Re: Burn Notice

The Dear Husband and I are watching with great enjoyment. It took a little while to warm to Jeffrey Donovan as I had him pegged as the oafish Vance out of Hitch, but stuck around because Bruce Campbell is engaging. Honest, I thought we might get a plug for "Making love the Bruce Campbell Way" out of this last pisode when Michael is quizzing Sam on how he managed to finesse a Caddy out of his latest girlfriend.

Gabrielle Anwar needs to few sandwiches though.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Any thoughts on Springsteen's "Radio Nowhere"?

Love it. I'm such a sucker for Bruce when he rocks out. When do tickets go on sale again?

Gabrielle Anwar needs to few sandwiches though.

Yeah. Much like Holly Hunter, she could stand a few weeks of Dr. Nick's steady gorging process, combined with assal horizontology.

David J. Loehr said...

Have you gotten a chance to check out those Fry and Laurie dvd's yet?

Wow, good memory. Sadly, no. Things are pretty much dead here, but I have approximately 1900 hours of Ken Burns' "The War" to suffer through, which is eating up much of my viewing time.


I'm still working through the third season myself, stretching it out. It's kind of like a mental sorbet here, cleansing the palate after work. Something to look forward to after the fall short circuits your brain...

I don't envy you sitting through "The War," and I say that as a Burns fan. I prefer his shorter pieces, like his films on Twain and Frank Lloyd Wright. The epic works just overwhelm me.

Here's a fall question. I've seen the pilot for "Pushing Daisies," which I had been looking forward to, but now I'm wondering. Is it possible the show will be too twee and stylized for anyone? I like Bryan Fuller and Barry Sonnenfeld, but the pilot got to be too much for me, I couldn't watch it in a single sitting. (Speaking of Sonnenfeld, I still mourn his and Alex Gansa's adaptation of Elmore Leonard's "Maximum Bob." There's a show ahead of its time.)

Figgsrock2 said...

I'm such a sucker for Bruce when he rocks out. When do tickets go on sale again?

9/10 at 10a.m. through the usual Ticketmaster robbery. 10/9-10 at Meadowlands, 10/17-18 at MSG. Look for one date to be added to each venue by 10:15. Then he'll be back in the late spring.

And glad to hear you're warming up to Burn Notice. I really hope USA brings it back for next summer, and doesn't try to cram in some eps in January like they did with the Monk/Psych bill this year. I ended up forgetting the shows were on most weeks.

anon said...

Alan,

The F&G thread made me wonder: Is there some show you wish was available on DVD that isn't? I know you don't have enough time to watch things as it is, but I thought there might be something obscure, or short-lived, or just underappreciated that you wish you could revisit.

Anon

jim treacher said...

Jacob's not invisible! (sometimes)

Alan Sepinwall said...

The F&G thread made me wonder: Is there some show you wish was available on DVD that isn't?

A bunch from early in my tenure as TV critic: EZ Streets (though the pilot and maybe one or two other episodes are available on various Brilliant But Canceled DVDs, the whole season isn't), the aforementioned Cupid (which would be an obvious Rewind candidate for next summer if it existed), and Nothing Sacred, to name three.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I've seen the pilot for "Pushing Daisies," which I had been looking forward to, but now I'm wondering. Is it possible the show will be too twee and stylized for anyone? I like Bryan Fuller and Barry Sonnenfeld, but the pilot got to be too much for me, I couldn't watch it in a single sitting.

Heh. When I used "twee" in my Pilot Watch non-review of "Pushing Daisies," Fienberg pointed out that he had used the same word in his own non-review of the show. I think it's just the natural reaction to it.

I like "Pushing Daisies" more than Bryan Fuller's other shows, but I still think it's an extreme long shot to make it to 2008. Just too quirky, and in a sincere way (as opposed to David Kelley's more popular "let's make fun of the freaks" fashion).

Carol said...

Hi, Alan - I know it's not available on DVD, but I wondered whether you've ever seen Frank's Place (1987-88) and, if so, whether you have any observations/recollections (just a response here, nothing major). I still miss it and often wonder if it was just ahead of its time (OTOH, a dramedy with a mostly-minority cast still has a hard time getting traction, even 20 years later). I would much appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

P.S. I'm still jonesing for Season 5 of The Wire and am greatly looking forward to your commentary when the show returns.

Gapers said...

Alan,
Where does the TV series Rome fall in your list of great TV shows. I just watched the replay of season two. I loved this series. It is in my top five.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Where does the TV series Rome fall in your list of great TV shows.

Not on the list, sorry. I liked the stuff with Vorenus and Pullo, the rest of it not so much.

Abbie said...

I agree with you on your assessment of The Wire and The Sopranos as two of the top three shows ever produced. But I've never seen Deadwood.

I watched half of John from Cincinatti and then couldn't bear it after I realized that the sermon-by-the-swimming-pool was supposed to be interesting and/or illuminating. I found it to be neither. My wife turned it off much sooner than that.

Is there much comparison to be made between Deadwood and JFC, for a backwards viewer? Should I give it a try, even though I couldn't deal with JFC?

Anonymous said...

Alan, do you remember "Blacke's Magic" with Hal Linden and Harry Morgan?

DonBoy said...

When a show like The Simpsons has something like twenty writers and only one person gets credit for the episode, how much of that episode did the person actually write and how much was community written? Is the person with the credit just the guy who's typing up all the jokes and story lines written by the writer's room?

On the other hand, at the end of The Simpsons Movie, the "Spider-Pig parody lyrics" are credited to four or five people, which, if you've seen the movie or the clips floating around, is about how many parody words there are in the thing.

Edward Copeland said...

Did you notice Robyn Lively on Monday's Saving Grace? She's aged a bit since her days as the temptress Lana in the second season of Twin Peaks.

David J. Loehr said...

On the other hand, at the end of The Simpsons Movie, the "Spider-Pig parody lyrics" are credited to four or five people, which, if you've seen the movie or the clips floating around, is about how many parody words there are in the thing.

Having been in similar situations, I'm going to guess it took two people alone to come up with the extra "does" at the end of the first line. They weren't involved in any other part of the song. Thank you, Writers' Guild.