Tag Archives: CBS

TELEVISION: Crystal Chappell on Big Purple Podcast, The Goddess Edition

Crystal Chappell

Calling all Crystal Chappell and Otalia fans! Come one, come all, today is a day you have all been waiting for. What day is that Tiffany? Well I’ll tell you dear friends. Crystal Chappell Podcast Day! That’s right folks, your favorite Guiding Light Goddess will be a guest on a very special edition of The Big Purple Podcast, the official Big Purple Dreams fan forum podcast, today May 7, 2009. BPD’s fearless leader and sexy voice Goddess herself, Destini, will be hosting the podcast this afternoon and assures me that it will be posted to The Big Purple Podcast site this evening.

When I talked to Destini last night I asked her what she hoped to get out of the podcast and she told me “I’m very excited to have this opportunity to chat one-on-one with the original Goddess herself, Ms. Crystal Chappell. It’s something the fans over at BPD and I have are looking forward to. My only concern is that I fear Crystal may try to kill me dead.”

Well there you have it folks! Be prepared to lose your minds when Destini (sexy voice #1) and Crystal Chappell (sexy voice #2) go head-to-head today May 7, 2009 and please don’t forget to be on the look out tonight for The Goddess Edition of The Big Purple Podcast. Let’s hope that Destini survives being Chappelled!

For more information about all things Crystal Chappell, Jessica Leccia, Otalia or Guiding Light related visit the Big Purple Dreams fan forum. For more information about Crystal Chappell’s podcast visit The Big Purple Podcast site. Photo courtesy of  http://www.crystal-chappell.com

TELEVISION: Guiding Light – Doris for the Win!

wedding

“I am here to solemnize the wedding of Frank Cooper and Natalia Rivera.” Wow, solemnize…that’s what every girl dreams of when she thinks about how her wedding day will be described. What a sexy word!! Mayor Doris Wolfe, played brilliantly by the fabulous Orlagh Cassidy, ends up offering to officiate the wedding and does so with style. Hey Orlagh, call me, we’ll do lunch…I’ll wear a hat! Doris is my star for the majority of this episode. I would imagine she feels that she can throw the odds in her new friend Olivia’s favor by oh, I don’t know, speaking of the virtues of marriage and how it is not to be taken lightly or rushed into lightly. Doris gives the “is there any reason you shouldn’t be married” schpeal to Frank and Natalia when suddenly Olivia bursts out with a “NO…body objects right?” causing a laugh throughout the church and further tormenting me. Crystal Chappell may be a Goddess but she’s pushing me right up to the edge of insanity too. I’m jittery and starting to talk to myself, it isn’t pretty.

Doris continues her rant about the sanctity of marriage and how love is never doing what’s expected (watch out Frank…anvil dropping), it endures all, it shouldn’t be entered into thoughtlessly or out of a sense of convenience (oops, another anvil). She’s peppering her every word with enough not so subtle messages trying to shine a guiding light (sorry, I couldn’t resist) over Natalia to lead her out of this deep fog she seems to be lost in. Doris is my hero today. She even fakes a phone call that forces her to stop the wedding! I’m impressed by what an incredible friend she is trying to be to Olivia by attempting to help her do what she refuses to herself…stop Natalia from making the biggest mistake of her life by marring a man she doesn’t love.

Continue reading TELEVISION: Guiding Light – Doris for the Win!

TELEVISION: Crystal Chappell is a Goddess

Crystal Chappell

I realize that is a bold statement to make and an even bolder headline to lead off with but when it’s the most accurate way to describe one of the finest actresses in television today I say go big or go home. But maybe that’s just me.

If you’ve been following the current Guiding Light storyline with Crystal Chappell (Olivia Spencer) and Jessica Leccia (Natalia Rivera) as Otalia, then you are well aware that yesterday’s episode and what transpired. It was the beginning of the heartbreaking admission of love, from Olivia actually TO Natalia; we have all been waiting so patiently for. Natalia and Frank have hastily moved the wedding up because Rafe was released early for good behavior but only for a week before he heads to a halfway house to finish out his time. So Olivia steps in and within a few hours throws together a wedding and begins to move out of the farmhouse (aka the Farmhouse of Love).

It’s not until towards the end of the episode that things begin to really heat up and where my bold yet accurate headline comes into play. We cut to Olivia (Chappell) at the cemetery near the church placing long stem red roses at the base of Gus’s headstone. She’s trying to tell him about how his gift of a heart was actually a gift of life, a family and a great love…Natalia’s love. She blames him for giving her this great love because now she doesn’t know what to do with it. She’s going to stand next to Natalia and watch her marry someone else, losing her forever. Olivia comes to the realization that she has learned to truly love someone unselfishly. While confessing her feelings to Gus, Natalia shows up to make peace with Gus so she can move on and start a new life. She see’s Olivia and after a few minutes of the two of them discussing how it is the right thing to move on and how each of them are about to embark on a new life, Olivia begins to break down. She can no longer contain her overwhelming emotions. Her love for Natalia over comes her and she begins to passionately cry devastating tears. Natalia pushes Olivia to tell her why she is so upset and though Olivia tries desperately to move past her feelings, her raw emotions finally over take her and she screams out in frustration “I’m in love with you!”

Continue reading TELEVISION: Crystal Chappell is a Goddess

TELEVISION: CSI’s A Space Oddity Goes Where No Crime Lab Has Gone Before!

On Thursday evening [CBS, 10/9C], CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will go where it has never gone before – a science fiction convention. Hodges [Wallace Langham] and Wendy [Liz Vassey] are attending WhatIfItCon when they run into each other. She’s dressed as Yeoman Malloy from Astro Quest, a Star Trek-like classic SF series, while he’s carrying a very tricorder-like prop from the show. Before they can get over their amazement at encountering each other in such unlikely circumstances, the dead body of Jonathan Danson [Reg Rogers] is discovered in the captain’s chair on a replica AQ set constructed for the con.

CSI - Space Oddity

When it’s discovered that Danson’s downbeat re-imagining of the series caused a major uproar, suddenly the list of possible suspects increases exponentially. Dr. Penelope Russell [Battlestar Galactica’s Kate Vernon], who is making a documentary on the AQ phenomenon; Melinda Carver Jaime Ray Newman], Danson’s financier, and one particular trio of fans would seem to be the most likely candidates, but can anyone else be ruled out?

The title A Space Oddity works on three levels: it serves as a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Pace Odyssey [as parodied by Mad Magazine]; it was the title of David Bowie’s third album – the one that made him a rock star, and it reflects on the sometimes overly zealous way fans can fixate on a beloved series/movie/novel. On yet another level, it could be a reference to an imagined romance between Hodges and Wendy, in an Astro Quest setting… And wait until you see the reference to the Klingon language! Don’t blink, though, or you’ll miss Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore’s cameo.

Written by Galactica veterans David Weddle and Bradley Thompson [from a story by Naren Shankar], A Space Oddity is a well constructed mystery that makes use of fannish temperament, professional jealousy, and even the set of the Astro Quest bridge to full advantage. The romantic imaginings of Hodges and Wendy make a fun counterpoint to the grimmer aspects of the mystery – and you will not believe what classic Star Trek phrase ends the teaser… Michael Nankin [another Galactica veteran] deftly weaves the dark, the prosaic and the humorous of the episode together to create an entertaining CSI investigation.

Final Grade: A-

TELEVISION: Harper’s Island – Ten Little Indians at a Wedding!

On Thursday nights, from April 9 to July 2, CBS is running Harper’s Island [10/9C], a 13-episode “mystery event.” The tagline is, “27 miles off the coast of Seattle seven years ago, six people were murdered by John Wakefield. They were the first murders in the history of the island… they won’t be the last…”

Harpers_Island

The mini-series’ premiere sets up a situation that resembles a mash-up of Agatha Christie, David Lynch, Dynasty, and the slasher movie series of your choice… There are characters that last less than ten minutes into the premiere and characters that make it to just before the closing credits – and we are promised that at least one more will die every week. Is there a connection to the Wakefield murders? If so, why?

There are stock characters – The Groom [Henry Dunn, played by Christopher Gorham], The Biker Chick [Nikki Bolton, played by Ali Liebert], Malcolm Ross [The Hustler, played by Chris Gauthier], and Madison Allen [The Flower Girl, or The Spooky Girl, played by Cassandra Sawtelli], among others; and a complicated set of relationships that connect them all. One of the most important is that Henry worked on the island for the wealthy Wellington family – and his bride, Trish [Katie Cassidy], is the youngest daughter of that clan. Part of the fun will be seeing how the stock characters are fleshed out, and what ways they begin to diverge from the usual stereotypes [or whether they’ll last long enough to diverge…].

The murders that get the series going utilize different methods, so we know that the killer isn’t locked into a pattern, which makes him more dangerous and unpredictable. One thing that both murders have in common is that the victims are aware of their deaths – no rendering unconscious – which makes the killer more than just dangerous. He/she/ot is a deliberate, sadistic, creative person.

Harper’s Island underwent some casting changes following the release of a sizzle reel to critics, last fall. As a result, the tone has changed a bit. This version doesn’t seem quite as subtly creepy and vacillates between light and frothy and deeply dark and creepy.

Despite a solid cast of quality TV character players [Cassidy, Gorham, Harry Hamlin, Victor Webster, Jim Beaver and Richard Burgi, among others], the premiere is not as effective as the sizzle reel, but it’s still intriguing. I suspect that Harper’s Island will be a love or hate it series. Despite its flaws, I’m loving it – and suspect that, as the series progresses, the tone will settle in.

Final Grade: B

TELEVISION: Cold Case: When is A Standard Procedural Not a Standard Procedural?

Cold Case [CBS, 9/8C] deals with a team of detectives that solve “cold” cases – cases that that have long since been given up on – usually because some pertinent information has floated to the surface, figuratively speaking. The one thing they are completely unprepared for is a case that involves the here and now – and when the victim is one of their own, they find themselves in a place they’ve never been.

Cold Case - Officer Down

In Officer Down, Will Jeffries [Thom Barry] and Nick Vera [Jeremy Ratchford] stop so that Will can pick up some milk. When Will enters the corner store and goes to the milk cooler, he is shot from behind and left to die, along with the store owner, a neighborhood mainstay whom everyone calls “Pops”. From there, the episode deals with the reactions of the rest of the team – Lilly Rush [Kathryn Morris], Scotty Valens [Danny Pino], Lt. John Stillman [John Finn], and Kat Miller [Tracie Thoms].

They find themselves not only having to work in the present, but also trying to find who ambushed one of their own. From their initial responses [Rush gets the call as she’s jogging and pulls up short; Valens was in a dare with a gorgeous young thing and just drops her off near her home and pulls away even as she’s asking if “we can do this again?”], to their intensity in working the investigation, we’ve never seen the team as focused – or as frustrated.

Thanks to a solid script from co-producer Charles Silber, we actually get to see new shadings of these characters [who would’ve thought that the sceptical Vera would find himself “getting good at prayer?”]. We get the show’s trademark flashbacks, but with one exception they’re only back a matter of days – but director keeps show’s unique look for them, which gives them more impact than usual. In fact, it’s through the flashbacks that we get to know Pops [Clarence Williams III] – something that both keeps us firmly grounded in the here and now, and shows us something we didn’t know about Jeffries.

There’s even an internal affairs investigation that doesn’t feel gratuitous – and Lt. Stillman learns who has it in for him. And yet, “officer Down” doesn’t feel rushed or cramped. It may be Cold Case’s best episode of the season [and there have been some really good ones].

Final Grade: A-

TELEVISION: CSI Cliffhanger Makes the Most of Petersen & Fishburne

This season, CSI [CBS, Thursdays, 9/8C] has been a real rollercoaster ride. It started with the death of Warrick [Gary Dourdan] – followed by a murderer who used dead people to create some very warped art; an unsolved case involving an engaged couple; a killer hypnotist and even the return of Lady Heather [Melinda Clarke]. Along the way, Gil Grissom [William Petersen] has been looking less like the clue sniffer we’ve come to know and more like a man who has just about run out gas.

CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION

When he reveals to his team that he’s leaving, at the beginning this week’s episode, 19 Down…, it may come as a surprise to his team, but even without all the publicity about the new cast member, we’d have known before they did – and actually, Catherine Willows [Marg Hellgenberger] surprises him by not being surprised.

When what starts off as just another day in Vegas turns into something greatly different – a murder ties into a long imprisoned serial killer – and Grissom gets that intrigued look again. The tie-in is to Nathan Haskell [Bill Irwin – think Jack Coleman’s HRG gone stone bugfrak crazy], who killed at least eight couples before he was caught. Turns out that Haskell is doing a series of closed circuit Q&A sessions with a university class taught by one Dr. Raymond Langston [Laurence Fishburne].

19 Down… is the fall cliffhanger for CSI, so they’ve really shot the works. The pacing is [if you can believe it] even crisper than usual and the way it ties into the season’s prior unsolved mystery is not just clever, it’s very close to genius. Co-Executive Producers Naren Shankar and Carol Mendelsohn have created a terrific puzzle for Grissom and his team and every member of the core cast gets a meaty moment to shine – as when Hodges responds to the news of Grissom’s leaving [for just one example]. Director Kenneth Fink keeps things tight and suspenseful.

Not many weekly series can maintain a high level of quality through nine seasons, and CSI’s ninth season isn’t over yet, but between the announcement of Grissom’s leaving and the introduction of Langston, it would seem likely that the show is going to maintain that high level. It also seems likely that the transition of the series from Grissom’s era into Willows’ era will be a reasonably smooth one. For now, at least, I have to say that this is my favorite fall cliffhanger, so far.

Final Grade: A

TELEVISION: Ghost Whisperer: The Rumors Were True, So, Now What?

In last week’s episode of Ghost Whisperer [CBS, Fridays, 8/7C], the unthinkable happened: Jim Clancy [David Conrad] was killed, accidentally, when a police detective shot him thinking he was someone else. The episode concluded with Jim’s ghost appearing to his widow in his hospital room.

Ghost Whisperer - Threshold

Tonight’s episode, Threshold, finds Melinda [Jennifer Love Hewitt] unable to see Jim’s ghost because her grief is so strong that it’s interfering with her ability. When the ghost of a teenage girl begins to haunt her – breaking and throwing things – she thinks it’s Jim. Only Jim knows that it isn’t, so he approaches Eli [Jamie Kennedy] to help him figure out why the girl is haunting his widow. Things are complicated by Jim’s brother, who has been waiting for him so that the two of them can crossover together and rejoin their father.

Written and directed by John Gray, Threshold walks a fine line between genuine sentiment and being maudlin. For the most part – and largely due to the cast’s performances – it succeeds. Especially good is Conrad’s work as the increasingly frustrated Jim, though Hewitt gives one of her best performances here. I also have to give full marks to Camryn Manheim, whose work on Whisperer hasn’t really worked for me. Delia finally works as Melinda’s supportive friend and employee.

Naturally, with the complications that arise in Threshold, there are loose ends that will be left for next week’s ep, Heart & Soul – in which Melinda has to deal with a step-in, a man with amnesia and a very angry ghost who seems connected to her life in a genuinely unexpected way. I can’t say anything more than that – except to say that this ep concludes a storyline for Melinda and Jim even as it signals the beginning of an intriguing new direction for her.

Heart & Soul has a bit more trouble avoiding being maudlin, but long time fans of the series will find it to be both and unsettling [in a good way] and satisfying conclusion to the three-episode arc.

Final Grade: B

TELEVISION: The Ex List – Still Unbalanced – And Not In a Good Way!

Tonight’s episode of The Ex List [CBS, 9/8C] – Do You Love Me, Do You, Surfer… Boy” is the fourth of the show’s first [and quite possibly last] season and, despite several ingratiating performances [and a wide variety of ex-boyfriends], it isn’t a substantial improvement over the pilot.

ex_list Cast

Bella [Elizabeth Reaser] is following her plan to revisit her past boyfriends as per the fortune teller’s [Anne Bedian] prophecy that her soulmate is someone with whom she’s had a romantic relationship – and that if she hasn’t found him within a year, she’ll never marry. As a result, she’s encountering – in various unexpected ways – past boyfriends by the bucket load. This week it’s Shane [Brian Van Holt], a surf bum who has “grown up” to be famous and surprisingly business savvy.

The episode begins when the two meet cute and begin to see each other. We get a token look at Bella at work and there are arcs involving her engaged sister, Daphne [Rachel Boston], getting some photos done; her roommates, Augie [Adam Rothenberg] and Vivian [Alex Breckenridge] having some relationship problems [a showerhead and little to no imagination are involved], and Cyrus [Amir Talai] trying to scam a free board to teach a gorgeous woman to surf.

Although the subject of Bella’s quest is different, the pattern is pretty much beat for beat the same. The reconnect; they feel the generated chemistry; they learn how each changed over the years, and they fall apart just as things might be getting serious. The only difference here is that Shane has the potential to reappear in her life. Of the rest of the arcs, the only one that works is the showerhead one. Daphne might as well not have appeared in the ep, and Cyrus has gotten really old, really quickly.

In the pilot, written by series creator Diane Ruggerio, there were suggestions that we would see more of Bella’s life than just the fun parts and the ex-boyfriend parts. It seemed like we were going to get to see her at work as well as at play – and that her friends were going to actually be characters. The network, apparently, thought that the show should focus on just the play and romance and not the other [biggest] part of her life. The result is a show that entertains only sporadically, held aloft by the sheer charisma of Reaser and the characters of Augie and Vivian.

Given the potential in the pilot, this simply isn’t good enough. After invoking The Three-Ep rule, I was ready to stop watching, but CBS made a screener of the fourth ep available for review, so I asked for one. Sadly, it shows improvement only insofar as the ex of the week has the possibility of returning. In every other respect, The Ex List has not found the balance it needs to make it worth continued viewing.

Final Grade: C

DVD REVIEW: They’re Finally Here – The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best of Season 3!

I remember, with great fondness, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Tom and Dick Smothers started out as a comedy/folk duo, playing clubs like the legendary Purple Onion. When CBS offered them their own TV show, they had no idea what they were letting themselves in for. The Brothers Smothers started fairly innocuously, but as the series progressed it became a bastion of political satire that caused one U.S. president, LBJ [who clearly had a sense of humor], to send the duo a letter of praise – and another [Johnson’s successor, in fact] to ask CBS to take them off the air [making them the second top ten-rated series to be removed from a network’s schedule because a sitting president didn’t like it – the first being The Wild Wild West].

SMOS-BROS-DVD-BOX-ART

My favorite moment of the series came as the teaser for one episode that found Tom and Dick noting that CBS had been getting a lot flack because of the show, and that henceforth the audience wouldn’t hear “anything you wouldn’t hear in your own home…” followed by the sound of a toilet flushing. The Best of Season 3 has moments that match that hilarious moment [the opening song of the season premiere, We’re Still Here, for example notes that they’ve survived, among other things, the network’s censors]. And presented some of the most memorable musical performances of sixties television – as when Jim Morrison of The Doors blanked on the words for Touch Me, or when Donovan turned the show into a love-in/sing-along for Happiness Runs. And where else would you find George Harrison stopping by just for a couple minutes to urge the brothers to keep on keeping on?  Continue reading DVD REVIEW: They’re Finally Here – The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best of Season 3!