Category Archives: Television

TELEVISION: Michelle Hangs out with Ghost Hunters, Sanctuary and gets Chased! Report from Sci-Fi’s recent Digital Press Tour!

Amanda Tapping

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted something here. Frankly, I’ve been really busy playing an inordinate amount of Rock Band 2 and working on the upcoming book, “Tell Us Who You Are – The Interviews.” The book will be out in time for your Holiday shopping pleasure. Enough with the cheap plug, I was invited to attend Sci-Fi Channel’s 2nd annual Digital Press Tour last weekend. At first, I was a bit skeptical and didn’t particularly want to attend. I mean the shows they were promoting were pretty much all reality programming and Amanda Tapping’s new sci-fi show Sanctuary. So it wasn’t like I was actually visiting a set and I’m not a particular fan of reality television; I generally avoid them like the plague. The only reality show I watch on a semi-regular basis is American Idol. But I must say after this weekend, I’m going to be logging some serious time with all of Sci-Fi’s fall lineup – starting with Ghost Hunters and Sci-Fi’s newest game show The Chase.

Last weekend’s event was held in Denver Colorado at the historic Stanley Hotel. This hotel is rumored to be haunted and is the place that provided the inspiration for Steven King’s The Shining. He spent a few months in Room 217 writing the book and staring at ghosts. The Jack Nicolas film wasn’t shot here, but King’s TV Mini-Series was. It’s a weirdly old world hotel where walking in you can almost imagine that ghosts actually do make this place home. The place has this weird otherworldly vibe to it. When I was outside taking pictures (see the Gallery) it did feel freaky.

Continue reading TELEVISION: Michelle Hangs out with Ghost Hunters, Sanctuary and gets Chased! Report from Sci-Fi’s recent Digital Press Tour!

Television: Chuck verses the Seduction- Teaser & Prom Clips

(l-r) Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker, Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski

Last season, NBC and Warner Bros. introduced us to Chuck, a twenty-something computer geek who inadvertently downloaded critical government secrets into his brain which prompted his former college friend turned CIA to recruit him as a secret agent while keeping him out of the hands of those with more diabolical intentions.

Now Chuck is back for more adventures in season 2 of the hit NBC series and on Monday October 6th “Chuck Versus the Seduction”, written by Matthew Miller and directed by Allan Kroeker, takes our hero undercover to retrieve the Cipher from the sultry but dangerous spy known as the Black Widow (guest star MELINDA CLARKE – "The O.C."). However in order to get close to his target, Chuck must first learn the art of seduction from the suave and sophisticated Roan Montgomery (guest star JOHN LARROQUETTE – "Boston Legal"), a legendary debonair spy.

Unfortunately for Chuck, Sarah and Casey, Roan is no longer the world’s greatest spy. Meanwhile, Morgan offers Captain Awesome some advice for a romantic night with Ellie, and Lester struggles to gain respect at Buy More as the new assistant manager.

Check out the promo and teaser clips and watch Chuck on CBS Monday nights at 8PM EST.

Video Clips Courtesy of Warner Bros. Publicity Department

TELEVISION: Sanctuary – Sanctuary for All: Not an Empty Motto!

The Sci Fi Channel’s new series, Sanctuary [Fridays, 9/8C] is adapted from the internet series of the same name. It revolves around Dr. Helen Magnus and her “sanctuary for all.”

Dr. Will Zimmerman [Robin Dunne] is a mess. A forensic psychologist, he’s lost his job with the FBI and now plies his trade with a police force that pays no attention to his theories and opinions. When he attempts to help the police investigate a triple homicide – including two police officers – he begins an adventure that will clear up mysteries that have tormented him since he was eight years old, even as he encounters new mysteries that will change the way he thinks, acts and maybe even dreams.


Who is Dr. Helen Magnus [Amanda Tapping]? Who is the blonde Valkyrie [Emilie Ullerup] on the motorcycle? And who is the tall, bald, sinister apparition [Christopher Heyerdahl] who can seemingly move faster than bullets? And what do they have to do with a scared ten-year old boy of Slavic ancestry? And what is Magnus’ semi-simian chauffeur, anyway?

Sanctuary’s two-hour premiere, Sanctuary For All, answers these questions and leads into a series that explores the concept that every creature from folklore and mythology is real. The physical Sanctuary is the place where Magnus and her team provide safety for those creatures who seek refuge, and confinement for those whose predatory natures threaten humanity.

Shot almost completely in CGI [only the cast and essential props are live action], Sanctuary has a unique look [think classic Universal horror mixed with urban cop show] and an equally unique feel. The premiere introduces the aforementioned characters plus a tall humanoid who might well be the so-called Missing Link. The ten-year old boy fits right in as a genetic mutation from Chechnya.

The script is solid, if not inspiring, and intriguing – especially since it gives us enough answers to make us wonder just how many more questions are out there waiting to be answered. The acting is, for the most part, adequate. Tapping’s English accent may wobble from time to time, but emotionally, she’s spot on. Dunne makes Zimmerman, who is almost a Daniel Jackson clone, seem fresh and different. There’s even a cameo from Battlestar Galactica alumnus Kandyse McClure as Zimmerman’s ex – just to emphasize how damaged he is.

The keyword here is potential. The premiere lays out an intriguing premise and gives us sufficient background to make us feel like we can relate that that specific world. It may be a bit stilted, but it manages to convey its concepts relatively clearly, and the cast of characters is an odd mix or near-immortal, exuberant youth, damaged professional and surly/quirky tech master. The mix of science and myth works, for the most part – and so does Sanctuary.

Final Grade: B-

TELEVISION: The Ex List: Grey’s Anatomy’s Ava Strikes Out On Her Own!

Elizabeth Reaser did such a great job of playing the badly injured Ava/Rebecca on Grey’s Anatomy that it seems only right that she should have asked to front a series of her own. The Ex List [CBS, Fridays, 10/9C] is a bit of a high concept dramedy – Bella Bloom [Reaser] is told by a psychic [Anne Bedian] that she must marry within the year or she never will – but she has already met her soulmate, and he’s someone she’s had a relationship with in the past!

Ex List - Bella & Psychic

Bella’s situation arises from the bachelorette party for her younger sister, Daphne [Rachel Boston], and her own weird thought that visiting a psychic would be the perfect way to cap the evening. When other predictions she made come true in wildly unexpected [and funny] ways, she begins to take the psychic seriously – not least of all when bird poop leads to her discovery that former boyfriend Johnny Diamont [Eric Balfour] is back in town – and has a punk rock band. When she and roommate Vivian [Alexandra Breckenridge] go to his show, his first song shows he remembers her, and not particularly fondly…

The Ex List is based on an Israeli series, but seems to be of a vastly different tone [Diane Ruggerio, who adapted the series for America, left the show over creative differences – and she wanted to maintain the tone of the original]. In the premiere, she has a life – she runs a flower shop and has a core group of friends who share a house with her: the aforementioned Vivian, her best friend; Augie [Adam Rothenberg], Vivian’s boyfriend, and Cyrus [Amir Talai], who is a bit of a cynic and a slacker.

Although Reaser doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting, she is the principal here, and her ability to shift from comedy to drama to melodrama in mid-line [and to look really, really good in a bikini] is the show’s primary plus. The cast has solid chemistry [always important], but the writing isn’t quite right, yet. The balance between humor, drama and melodrama needs to be tweaked [less melodrama, more drama – the humor content is about right]. I enjoyed the pilot, but I hope that the show will find that balance – that sweet spot – that can elevate it to the next level.

Final Grade: B-

TELEVISION: Ghost Whisperer: Departures and Arrivals!

In the season premiere for Ghost Whisperer [CBS, Fridays, 9/8C], Firestarter, Melinda [Jennifer Love Hewitt] has to say farewell to a friend, while helping a sceptical psychologist learn to deal with being able to hear ghosts. It’s an entertaining episode of a series that never quite achieves greatness, but is always entertaining.


When Jim [David Gordon] is called to a fire at the university, Melinda tags along fearing that her colleague, Rick Payne [Jay Mohr] might be a victim. Rick, it turns out, is fine – but Melinda sees a mysterious black woman who disappears, and the spirit of a victim leave his body while Jim works on him – and then return after being hit with the defibrillator.

The man is Dr. Eli James [Jamie Kennedy] and when Melinda sees him and a ghost chatting in his hospital room later, she decides to help him with his new “gift.” Unlike her, though, he can only hear ghosts – not see them. And he seems to prefer thinking that he’s gone crazy over being able to talk with ghosts – especially this ghost, Fiona [Alona Tal], who was his patient.

Like the best eps of the series, Firestarter is more than adequately written; directed with a deft touch and features the best performance that Jamie Kennedy has ever given. There are scenes that are simultaneously comic and dramatic – as when Eli is surrounded by a half-dozen ghosts, all imploring him to help them, in a bar that’s otherwise empty but for the bartender and a guy playing pool – and there are scenes that are heartbreaking – as when we learn why Fiona’s ghost hasn’t crossed over. I’ll let you discover who’s leaving…

Fans of the series will love this ep, while those who haven’t tried it before will find it to be a solid hour’s entertainment. No more, no less.

Final Grade: B-

Television: Supernatural S4- In The Beginning: A Review

If you think you’ve been on every roller coaster ride possible that twists and turns through the Winchester brother’s lives in Supernatural, episode 3 of the hit series’ 4th season is going to prove you haven’t been on the ‘big ride’ yet.  So sit back, strap yourselves in and keep your hands inside the car until In The Beginning comes to its full and complete stop.

There seems to be rumblings among the online viewer-ship of Supernatural’s season 4, which stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester – brothers, supernatural hunters and now two men seemingly on different paths that are about to converge in a way that may alter their lives forever – that there hasn’t been much of what fans/viewers perceive as a storyline presence for younger brother Sam Winchester in the first two episodes. That the first two episodes seem to focus heavily on the deliverance of older brother Dean Winchester’s (Jensen Ackles) soul from hell, from which it was yanked out of and fully restored to life and body by the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) on the command of God.

I’ll be right upfront with you my readers; there is a significant lack of physical presence of Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) in the 3rd episode In the Beginning. However, if you are the kind of viewer/fan who can appreciate a storyline that is about the continuation of character’s journey, even though that character may not be physically present in the particular episode, then odds are you may really appreciate this episode. Possibly appreciate that it brings everything together and answers some major questions about Sam Winchester, his past and his possible date with destiny and sets things in motion that will bring the storyline heavily front and center to his character.  I can assure you, from this reviewer’s perspective, that Eric Kripke and Company have not forgotten about Sam Winchester/Jared Padalecki and their part in the process of making Supernatural an outstanding primetime drama series and cult favorite among its loyal fans.

Continue reading Television: Supernatural S4- In The Beginning: A Review

Television: Teaser Clips for Superntural S4.03

The episode, titled “In The Beginning,” will air on Thurs., 10/2 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.  This episode, which features guest star Mitch Pileggi (“The X-Files,” “Stargate: Atlantis”) as Sam & Dean Winchester’s maternal grandfather, begins with the angel Castiel (guest star Misha Collins) transporting Dean (Jensen Ackles) back in time to Lawrence, Kansas in 1973.  In what promises to be a very revealing hour, Dean not only encounters his parents as a young couple in love, but also meets his mother’s family for the first time and learns the origin of a startling turn of events that will shape the future of the entire Winchester family – and possibly his relationship with Sam (Jared Padalecki) – forever.   “In The Beginning” was written by Jeremy Carver and directed by Steve Boyum.

SPN 4.03 Clip One

SPN4.03 Clip Two

MOVIE NEWS: The Secret Life of Bees

Last week our own Tiffany did a series of great interviews with the amazing cast of The Secret Life of Bees. Those interviews will be posted over the next few days. But coincidently the folks at Oprah sent over this trailer.  Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo will sit down with Oprah to discuss the film and answer viewer questions.  Alicia Keys will close out the show with her hit song “Superwoman”! To think, Tiffany sat down with them before Oprah.  This eppy airs this Thursday.


TELEVISION NEWS: Sci-Fi Announces RelicQuest at weekend Digital Press Event

I just got back from Sci-Fi Channel’s 2nd annual Digital Press event. It was a fabulous weekend with lots of time spent with the Casts of all of their popular reality shows and Amanda Tapping. The weekend even included a real live Ghost Hunt with the Ghost hunters, a chance to play Sci-Fi Channel’s version of The Amazing Race in their real life video game show The Chase and more.  I’m going to do a full write up on the weekend either Monday or Tuesday.  One piece of news that was announced – exclusively at the event by Sci-Fi President, Dave Howe was their brand new 2009 series RelicQuest.  Based on the description Dave gave, I would call this show Sci-Fi’s attempt to bring Indiana Jones to life.  It sounds like a great concept.  Here’s the official release.   Again, I will have full details on this amazing weekend and reports from the panels during the course of the week. 

Continue reading TELEVISION NEWS: Sci-Fi Announces RelicQuest at weekend Digital Press Event

TELEVISION: The Unit: The Unit Has No Women!

As The Unit [CBS, Sundays, 10/9C] wraps up its latest mission overseas – with the help of an undercover female soldier [pictured below] – their wives are told to drop every connection they have to their everyday lives, send their kids off to distant relatives and repair to an unknown location.

The Unit, S4

The fourth season of The Unit, Sacrifice, finds the team attempting to thwart a terrorist attempt to assassinate the President-Elect Benjamin Castillo [Benito Martinez] – a task made more difficult because the men attempting the assassination are dressed in proper military garb and know the codes of the day.

Written by the show’s Co-Executive Producer, Frank Military, and directed by the show’s creator, David Mamet, Sacrifice is the show’s best season premiere since the first one. Military’s script is smart and manages to create an arc that allows The Unit and their families to become – in an unexpected way – connected, story-wise. With the seeming uprooting of the families, and a terrorist organization that has the funding and training to attack the United States President, Vice-President, President-Elect and Vice-President-Elect, this first part of a two-parter pretty much cooks from beginning to end.

And that unofficial rule that “The Unit has no women?” It appears that the knowledge of that rule may have given the team an unexpected advantage as they track down the group behind the assassination attempts. Between that twist and the upheaval in the lives of The Unit’s families, the show’s creative team is showing that they have no plans to let the series get stale.

I just wish my screener had both eps. I hate cliffhangers! Seriously!

Final Grade: B+

TELEVISION: Cold Case: Solid Procedural Enters Sixth Season

It’s hard to believe, but Cold Case [CBS, Sundays, 9/8C] has been setting the ghosts of the past to rest for over five years. The sixth season premiere, Glory Days, follows the familiar pattern – after we see the final moments of Michael “Bad Moon” McShane [Aaron Hill] in 1973, a piece of evidence is discovered in the present that suggests he was killed much later than was previously thought. Enter Lilly Rush [Kathryn Morris]  and her team of cold case investigators.

Cold Case, S6

“Bad Moon” was a football star who disappeared the night before the championship game. The investigation puts together a picture of how his last few days were spent by questioning various of his friends, coaches, tutors and such. There’s his teammate, Tom “The Breeze” Bernard [B.J. Britt/Clifton Powell], who lost his scholarship because McShane reported his ill health; Steve Pratt [Sean O’Bryan/James Karen], the alumnus who recruited McShane [and treated him to dinner once a week – and gave him extra spending money for books]; Assistant Coach Walters [Tom Griffin/M.C. Gainey], who was aware that the team’s unofficial, off-campus doctor was giving them steroids, R. Boretski [Justice Leak/James Read], McShane’s tutor, who, McShane threatened to reveal was cheating on class work for members of the football team.

With lots of suspects, there are lots of stories – some of them touching, some funny, and some false. The procedures through which the team solves the case may be familiar but the variations provided each new set of circumstances and suspects allow for enough variety to keep the series feeling fresh – especially when each ep is anchored by music of the period [here it’s by BTO and Steely Dan].

Another ep furnished by CBS, Wednesday’s Women, the third ep of the new season, deals with a group of women who drove from Philadelphia to Mississippi to help run Freedom schools under the cover selling Tupperware®. In it, what was thought to be a hit and run turns out to have far greater implications. The ep’s guest cast includes Olympia Dukakis and Carl Lumbly, among others.

The Cold Case ensemble [Morris, John Finn, Thom Barry, Jeremy Ratchford, Danny Pino and Tracie Thoms] is reliably together and between the regular cast, the guest stars and the consistent writing, the show remains one of the more watchable procedurals around.

Final Grade: B