Category Archives: Television

TELEVISION: The Goode Family – Safe as Milk – Pasteurized, Bacteria-Free, Boring Old Milk!

ABC’s new animated series, The Goode Family [Wednesdays, 9/8C], is the series from Mike Judge of King of the Hill fame. If it was a tenth as funny as that series, The Goode Family might be worth checking out. Instead, this comedy about the Goode family – vegan, non-confrontational, recycling, hybrid-driving – bends over backwards to balance the family’s save-the-planet sensibilities by making one character an Archie Bunker type. Instead of provoking genuinely spirited exchanges, however, it just renders both sides inoffensive.

Goode Family

The Goode Family – Gerald [Mike Judge] and Helen and their son Ubuntu and daughter Bliss – live by the simple motto, WWAGD [What would Al Gore Do]. Gerald is a college administrator and Helen a community activist. Ubuntu and Bliss are high school students. The family’s politically correct plans always go wrong – as when Gerald and Helen adopt an African-American baby and one who, though technically African-American [being from Africa] is as white as they are.

Whether they’re trying to put in an organically sound garden [elephant dung from a circus!!!], or find something that the hulking Ubuntu can do competently – besides eat [can you say “football family?”], everything the family does to minimize its footprint on Planet Earth goes horribly awry. Or, at least, that was the plan. Somewhere along the way, the series creators [Judge, John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky] forgot the funny once they got past the white African-American thing. Even the vegan pet dog, Che is a one-gag character.

To say that The Goode Family is boring is being kind. It’s more like the TV equivalent of an MST3K clunker waiting for its commentary track. Spare yourselves – unless you’re suffering from insomnia.

Final Grade: D

EM Review by Sheldon Wiebe

Posted May 26, 2009

TELEVISION: Diamonds – Mini-Series Gallops Madly Off In All Directions!

ABC’s mini-series, Diamonds [Sunday and Tuesday, 9/8C]wants to be the Blood Diamonds of television when it’s more like a morality play that fuses that excellent film with the baser aspects of 24 – and throws in some primetime soap that’s significantly less than 99 & 44/100% pure [or fun…].

Diamonds

When Senator Joan Cameron’s daughter is murdered in the Congo, it sets off a chain reaction that reverberates through the halls of both the U.S. and Congo governments and the offices of the Denmont Corporation – a major wholesale diamond supplier looking to go into retail for the first time.

The high-powered includes Judy Davis [My Brilliant Career] as Senator Cameron; Sir Derek Jacobi [I, Claudius, Gosford Park] as Denmont CEO, Piers Denmont; James Purefoy [Rome], Louise Rose [Eastenders] as Luna Kormoma, Joanne Kelly [Vanished] as Stephanie Dressler, and Stephen McHattie [300] as Llewellyn Anderson – which guarantees that the cheesy, over-blown script is at least well acted.

That script, by David Vainola and directed by Andy Wilson, is simultaneously overcrowded and simplistic. Arcs include the machinations behind the scenes at Denmont Corporation; the plight of a child soldier in the Congo; a model who becomes the face of Denmont Corporation – and its face; an investigation into the massacre that included the senator’s daughter; and a cantankerous prospector for diamonds in the Canadian Arctic.

The various arcs weave in and out – actually they jump in and out [not much subtlety here] in harsh cuts rather than more elegant transitions. Everyone is so, so serious – the script doesn’t allow much in the way of badly needed comic relief because it’s Saying Something. As a result, the whole thing feels like someone thought that 24 and Dynasty would meld into the general Blood Diamonds concept. The monster diamond at the heart of most of the arcs is beauty, though…

There’s a certain fascination in seeing a world-class cast acting the hell out of a Razzie-worthy production [too bad there’s not a Razzies for television], but it fades well before Diamonds’ four-hour running time. The really sad thing is that Diamonds is a co-production with the CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, so it’s a genuine international fiasco. My grading for this is based solely on the performances – otherwise, diamonds would rate an F.

Final Grade: D+

EM Review by Sheldon Wiebe

Posted May 24, 2009

Television: Chris Diamantopoulos To Join Cast of 24

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Chris Diamantopoulos, a handsome 34 year old Canadian born actor, has been added to the regular cast for the up coming 8th season of the hit FOX series, 24.

Diamantopoulos, who has been acting since he was nine years old and has done work on Broadway, will play Rob Weiss, the tough new Chief of Staff to President Allison Taylor. Viewers last saw this talented actor as Rodney on the recently cancelled series, The Starter Wives.

24 stars Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer the top, though often times very rogue, agent of the LA Counter Terrorist Unit. 24 has a unique premise in which each season of the hit series takes place in one day as episodes unfolds in real time following a consecutive hour and it’s never a "good day" for Jack and the members of CTU.

24 airs on Monday nights at 9PM EST on the FOX Network.

TELEVISION NEWS: Abc Has Released the V Promo, and it’s Good!

Whenever people ask me what my favorite movie of all time is, I always say it’s “V The Original Mini-series.” For me it’s has always been and remains the perfect movie because at it’s core it’s a message movie that’s about something. I’ve seen it over 30 times and read the novel at least as much it’s the perfect example of how to write an adaptation – not just copying a screenplay but actually adding a lot of depth and missing moments to the original work.

I couldn’t gen up the passion to be outraged at ABC’s upcoming remake. I wanted to just pretend it didn’t exist. But this week ABC posted a 2 minute promo clip and I hate to say it, or am happy to say – it’s excellent. It hits all the beats from the original while making it relevant for today’s audience with nicely updated effects that are the same as the original but different. I love that this time around they are inviting everyone up and it seems like they are hitting the religious undertones pretty heavily this time where that wasn’t present in the original.  But so far, I really like what I’m seeing.

Angels and Demons – Supernatural Style

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No, this is not about Tom Hanks’ new movie as THAT “Angels and Demons” has been covered quite nicely by Sheldon, Michelle, and Christopher, here at Eclipse. But is you are a fan of such stories whose players involve Angels and Demons, then you could really offer yourself a treat by tuning in to Supernatural tonight. After all, they’ve been dealing with demons for four years now, and this season threw in a few angels into the spicy mix as well.  And as an extra added bonus, there is excellent acting, outstanding writing and directing, and epic production values.  Not to mention an equal amount of scares, thrills, horror, drama and humor.

 

With the season finale completed last week, the ride begins all over again with this season’s premiere episode “Lazarus Rising” airing tonight.  The season features factions of angels and demons struggling to avert an impending apocalypse.  That’s right folks, we’re talking about THE Apocalypse!  Alliances are questioned and no one can be sure that all demons are bad or all angels are good.  And smack in the middle of it all are the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, who have dedicated their lives to saving people, hunting things, and battling all external demons while struggling with their own internal ones.  The series bases all it’s main stories on existing myths, legends, and lore.  Its goal is not to make fun or twist any one religious view, but take different cross-cultural lore and present a compelling story that will exercise your brain cells while entertaining the hell out of you.  And the ultimate message within it all lies in the value of family and humanity.

 

TV audiences are creatures of habit.  They find their favorite show and stick to it, even if it means watching re-runs.  But if you’ve already laughed at all the jokes on NBC, know ‘who dun it’ on CBS and want to get out of the ABC hospital for a while, then take the challenge to tune in and see for yourself what you might have been missing.  The series stars Jared Padalecki (Gilmore Girls, Friday the 13th), Jensen Ackles (Dawson’s Creek, Smallville, My Bloody Valentine 3-D), and supporting cast members Misha Collins, Jim Beaver (Deadwood, Harper’s Island) and Genevieve Cortese (Wildfire). Promo pic ©The CW.  And this is where I’m going to break protocol a bit since fan-made promotion videos often give you a better taste of the series and direct you to THIS, one of many that exist, to give you a 3-minute taste.

 

SUPERNATURAL is on The CW tonight at 9:00 pm. 

 

TELEVISION NEWS: CW Announces New Fall Schedule

The CW Network

May 21, 2009 (New York, New York) ? The CW Network unveiled the schedule for its 2009-2010 season today at a presentation for advertisers, affiliates and national media in the Theater at Madison Square Garden.  The announcement was made by Dawn Ostroff, President of Entertainment, The CW.

“In just three years, The CW has become TV to talk about, with culturally current, quality programming,” said Ostroff.  “Next fall, we will have great flow from Monday through Friday, starting with the Monday pairing of ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘One Tree Hill,’ which made The CW one of the top destinations for young women this season.  Tuesday night gives us a perfect match with ‘90210’ and ‘Melrose Place.’  And what could be better than our Wednesday night shows from Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher – the all-model lineup of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and ‘The Beautiful Life.’  On Thursdays, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ taps into the continuing fascination young women have with all things vampire, and makes the perfect lead-in for ‘Supernatural,’ which is coming off its strongest year ever.  Moving ‘Smallville’ to Fridays gives us a major player with a loyal fan base to kick off the night.  Top all that off with our heartwarming and humorous midseason drama ‘Parental Discretion Advised,’ from writer/producer Liz Tigelaar, and we have a full slate of great programming to keep our viewers watching, chatting, texting and tweeting all next season.”

TELEVISION NEWS: Your New American Idol!

American Idol Winner: Kris Allen

I never watch recap shows and I kept that trend up for the finale. I watched Veronica Mars, played some Rockband Classic Rock (pretty nice set list), read a bit of the how to develop for Twitter book and sat in my Jacuzzi for a good 30 minutes, anything other than watching that 2 hour trainwreck.  I have to say, I was surprised at the choice in Idol Winners, I was going to make you click the read more button to find out, but what’s the point, I’m sure you know already – KRIS ALLEN is your new American Idol!  It’s pretty amazing that he won, he was this year’s Jason Mraz had the weakest voice of everyone, no personality, bland, predictable, but I have to admire him he stuck it out. I think maybe the judges constant pimping of Lambert and Gokey since week 17 finally turned off enough voters.

This choice is as much a repudiation of the Judges manipulations (especially Simon Cowell’s constant begging people to vote for Adam) this season than an affirmation of Allen. The folks over at Vote for the Worst are trying to claim credit, but it’s complete BS, because they didn’t make Allen their pick until the top 2. I think Adam got a little cocky in the last few weeks which ended in his off performance last night. But the Judges can take heart because they did get Adam to the Finale. I’m a little sad, because it would have been fun to have him be the first open, and I mean OPEN gay American Idol. But with all the horse racing upsets in the last few weeks, this is somehow fitting.

Television: The CW Upfront 2009 Pick-Ups

Lying, cheating, stealing, seduction, backstabbing, betrayal, murder… it’s just another day at Melrose Place.

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MELROSE PLACE Pictured (Left to Right): Stephanie Jacobsen as Lauren, Colin Egglesfield as Auggie, Ashlee Simpson as Violet, Shaun Sipos as David, Katie Cassidy as Ella, Michael Rady as Jonah, Jessica Lucas as Riley in MELROSE PLACE on The CW. Photo Credit: Patrick Ecclesine/The CW ©2009 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.CREDITS: THE CW

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The Beautiful Life Pictured: Corbin Bleu as Isaac, Mischa Barton as Sonja, Nico Tortorella as Kai, Sara Paxton as Raina, Ben Hollingsworth as Chris, Ashley Madekwe as Marissa, Jordan Woolley as Egan in THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE on The CW. Photo Credit: Jan Thijs / The CW © 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. CREDITS: THE CW

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The Vampire Diaries Pictured: Ian Somerhalder as Daman, Nina Dobrev as Elena, Paul Wesley as Stefan in THE VAMPIRE DIARIES on The CW. Photo Credit: Kharen Hill / The CW © 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. CREDITS: THE CW

TELEVISION: CBS Picks Up Medium; Shifts The Mentalist; Adds Four New Shows to Fall Lineup!

The Associated Press is reporting that CBS, the last network to hold its upfront, has picked up NBC cast-off, Medium – and is moving The Mentalist into the overcrowded swirl of programming that is Thursday night. Medium will be paired with Ghost Whisperer on Friday nights, as predicted by EW TV writer Michael Ausiello, while The Mentalist will anchor the Thursday line-up at 10/9c.

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Entertainment Weekly is reporting that the network has added four shows – three dramas and one comedy – to its 2009-10 fall schedule.

Mid-season replacements include the returning Flashpoint and Rules of Engagement, plus new series The Bridge [a new Canadian cop show], Miami Trauma [starring Jeremy Northam, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer], Undercover Boss [CEOs disguise themselves as regular workers at their own companies], and Arranged Marriage [reality TV – still looking for its absolutely lowest of the lowest common denominator].

The full CBS fall schedule and brief program description follow the jump.

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