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Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

Preview: The Great American Dream Vote

Posted by Travis R Grant on March 27, 2007

Is Donny Osmond ready from prime time again? While he has done television, broadway, and other media productions. This is the first time in 20 plus years that Osmond will be starring in a prime time television show.

I was actually quite impressed at how well Osmond did on Pyramid. He was very well spoken, funny (though someone cliché), and rather enjoyable to watch.

As the Great American Dream Vote is more like a game show than a talk show, I would guess that Osmond will do well in this role. I am sure that he will bring is very natural charm to the screen and help the contestants and audience (both studio and broadcast audiences) feel at home.

However, I am not sure that this show will work. We often hear about the great American dream. As I was growing up I was always taught that this dream was home ownership. And I still think that it is.

However, we are dreaming bigger now. And this show is hoping to capitalize from our dreams.

Contestants in this show will tell America what their dream is. This can be anything from building a dance studio in your basement to starting up your own private business. The key is to convince America that your dream is better than the other contestants.

First, the studio audience will reduce the vote down to the two best contestants. Then America will decide who should have their dream fulfilled.

I often speak of celebrating the stories of ordinary people. This show starts with that premise and so there is a part of me that thinks it could be a great success. However, past experiments (like Three Wishes) with helping people fulfill their dreams have proven to be unsuccessful television shows.

While they often provide people with a great feeling about society and caring for others, these shows just aren’t as entertaining as one would hope they would be.

Also, I feel that the competition part of the show will have its problems. How am I going to choose between one person’s dreams and another’s? Sure some choices would be obvious, like voting for someone who wants fame and fortune versus someone who needs a home with wheelchair access for their disable child. But how do you choose between the wheelchair and the infertile couple? Or how do you choose between a pasture who wants to improve his church and a homeless shelter that needs more room?

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if this show does well. It could be like chicken soup for the television soul. But I don’t hold out much hope.

Posted in Previews, Reality TV, Television, The Great American Vote, Unscripted Dramas | Leave a Comment »

Winter Preview: The Amazing Race – All Stars

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 20, 2007

The contestants for the All Star Edition of the Amazing Race have officially been posted. And for the most part, I am happy with the selections.

My number one pick for the All Stars was Kevin and Drew, and they made the cut. Trust me if you missed Season 1, then you are in for a real treat. These are a couple of frat brothers/friends that are funny, charming, and just all around good guys. I can’t wait to see them in action again.

On a less positive note, my number one pick to not be on the show is in the All Stars. Rob and Amber can’t seem to get enough of the spot light. Next thing you know, they will have a reality TV spot on the pregnancy and birth a new child (Before the rumor mill starts, no they aren’t pregnant, I am just speculating about the future). If it wasn’t for Kevin and Drew, I don’t think that I would even bother with the All Stars with Rob and Amber in it. Oh well, at least this is a couple that I love to hate. I hope that are out in the first round. (I just cursed myself, and now they will be in the final three, again.)

Obviously, I am excited to see David and Mary compete again. I suspect that they will team up with Charla and Mirna. Maybe this grouping will prove to be better. Charla and Mirna weren’t afraid to take any risks like Erwin and Godwin. However, I think their loyalty will be a lot more like Lyn and Karlyn. I was surprised that neither Charla nor Mirna tried and convince Phil Keoghan to leave his wife for her. I hope that both of these teams do well. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see them out early either.

Danny and Oswald got back on, and they were entertaining. I probably won’t be cheering for them much, but I won’t mind seeing them go far. Joyce and Uchenna will be okay to see again, but they have already won, so I won’t be cheering for them much, either.

I am not excited to see John Vito and Jill, Dustin and Kandice, or Eric and Danielle back in the race. I didn’t like them in their first races, and I doubt I will like them now. I guess Eric and Danielle are interesting because they are the Amazing Race’s first match up. But that too is still a yawner.

Regardless of what you think of each of the contestants, this looks to be a good season. Let’s hope it proves to be as successful as some of the other All Star Reality shows.

Posted in All-star, Previews, Reality TV, TAR, Television, The Amazing Race, TV, Unscripted Dramas, Winter Preview | 1 Comment »

Winter Preview: Rules of Engagement

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 18, 2007

This may sound like a repeat of my critic of ‘Til Death. However, I find it important to keep alive the discussion about media’s negative portrayal of marriage.

Rules of Engagement is a comical look at relationships primarily from the man’s perspective. To do this, they focus on a married man (Patrick Warburton), an engaged man (Oliver Hudson), and the single guy (David Spade).

The unfortunate thing is, that while this is advertised to be about relationships, the real story is that it is a put-down-marriage forum. When compared to ‘Til Death, this show is worse. At least in ‘Til Death it appears that Eddie and Joy are genuinely in love. However, in Rules of Engagement Jeff and Audrey (Megyn Price) seem to just barely get a long. And in the engaged couple, Adam appears to already be looking to get out of the commitment with Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich).

The only person who appears to be happy is the still single Russell, who it appears that Jeff and Adam aspire to be. However, their commitments are holding them down. The underlying message is that marriage is drudgery.

Looking at the cast, this will be a well done show. The only thing that would prevent it from staying on the air is if people don’t like it. I already don’t.

Media has too many negative messages about marriage. I don’t wish for television to portray marriage as all diamonds and roses, because it isn’t. However, I am tired of the many messages that say that marriage is nothing but animal waste and pits either, because it isn’t.

Media messages about marriage should be balanced. They should work to provide a varied taste of both the good and bad in marriage.

Another problem I have with this show is the overemphasis on sex. While sex is an important part of marriage, it should be respected more than it is on television. One of the problematic messages in this show is that married sex is terrible, and single sex is great. This is the wrong message for a society where sex leads to too much out of wedlock children and the issues of caring for children in two homes, and with the medical issues that are involved.

Before ending, I wish to clarify that I am not saying the ‘Til Death is a good show. I only use it as a comparison, and my preference for it over Rules of Engagement is only because there is slightly more positive messages about marriage.

Posted in 'Til Death, Comedy, Previews, Rules of Engagement, Television, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

Winter Preview: Armed and Famous

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 10, 2007

When I first saw it I couldn’t believe it. Are they seriously going to take five celebrities and train them to be cops? Okay, I could believe that. I couldn’t believe that the celebrities actually passed the training course. I also couldn’t believe that they would actually broadcast such drivel.

Armed and Famous trains five celebrities to be cops. Actually, I am not sure that half of these participant even qualify as celebrities, unless you want to go back 20 years. After their training they are taken out on the streets and enforce the laws of Muncie Indiana.

This show is being billed as a comedy. So here I am picturing Police Academy meets Dancing with the Stars. And trust me it is much worse than that. Now I have to admit, I don’t understand either of those shows. I really never watch Policy Academy, and I just can’t seem to stomach Dancing with the Stars.

However, If you like Dancing with the Stars, I think you will not like Armed and Famous. However if you like Police Academy you might find this show humorous.

Having watched the previews available at CBS, I have to say, that I am lost for the humor. Of the six short clips available online, there were only two partially funny moments. La Toya Jackson handling a fire arm was perhaps the funniest, but that in itself is more dangerous than funny. The second most funny was Erik Estrada passing wind while wrestling with a trainer. And I have never found flatulence jokes humorous.

While from an ethical perspective, this show has it’s problems. I honestly think that this show will flop because it just won’t be entertaining. From the get go Jason Acuña is told that he isn’t allowed to be a “jackass” on the show. So, automatically, you take away his ability to be funny. So much for the comedy aspect, that is if you call Acuña’s act funny.

Also, did Jack Osbourne manage to stay sober enough to do this show? Or did the trainers just let it slide? Okay, I know that he has sobered up since the Osbourne’s were on the air, and maybe I am taking unfair punches. But I am trying to point out, that this isn’t your typical police trainees. I will give Osbourne some credit and say that at least he knows how to handle I fire arm. I wish that I could shoot like that.

I won’t be watching Armed and Famous. And I doubt many in America will be either. This is Reality TV gone way wrong. Mostly because it has no entertainment value, but also because it just seems to be a slap in the face of ethics.

Posted in Armed and Famous, Comedy, Previews, Reality TV, Television, TV, Unscripted Dramas, Winter Preview | 2 Comments »

Winter Preview: George Lopez

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 28, 2006

This may be a little different type of preview, because George Lopez has been on the air for five seasons now. And I am honestly sorry that I haven’t been watching until now.

Last Wednesday, ABC aired 3 almost-back-to-back episodes of past Christmas specials of George Lopez, and I decided that I was going to watch them all. I figured it would give me a good sampling (although Christmas flavored) of this show.

For the most part, this is the family comedy that you have heard me aching about in the past. While watching these three episodes, there were no sexual references accept in regards to between Lopez and his wife (Contance Marie), and some about their teenage daughter, Carmon (Masiela Lusha) and her boyfriend. The boyfriend references were only in regards to kissing, and it was a very humorous reflection of a father’s concern for his daughter.

To a limited extent George Lopez is the Home Improvement of our day. The focus here is on the whole family. It is not limited to just the parents, as is the case in According to Jim and Two and a Half Men, which only have limited interludes with the children.

My only complaint about this show is that the father is still portrayed as a bumbling idiot. He is always the character that needs fixing. This is too common of a theme in family comedies, but if it is the only politically correct way to portray decent families on TV, then I might have to settle.

Regardless of the inaccurate portrayal of fathers. This is a great family oriented, values based program, that for the most part will be something that I can watch with my children. Discussions of right and wrong will be appropriate and helpful. It is entertaining; Lopez does a great job and his family cast is well selected.

I will be watching George Lopez starting January 24. And I feel that I will enjoy this show and keep kicking myself for having missed it the past years.

Posted in Comedy, George Lopez, Previews, Television, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

Winter Preview: Knights of Prosperity

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 20, 2006

Are you tired of the daily grind? Does your cube farm make you feel like a prodded cattle who has no choice? Are you tired of schlepping toilets for a living? Have you just wanted to get out of the nine to five hustle and live the high life? Most of us have. Most of us would love to be liberated from our dead-end jobs.

However, have you ever wanted out so bad that you would be willing to commit grand larceny? No I didn’t think so. Well according to ABC’s newest comedy, the Knights of Prosperity, there are some who might.

Eugene Gurkin (Donal Logue) is a late night janitor who decides that it is his time our of the dead end life. He concocts a scheme to raid Mick Jaggar’s home and steal some of his possessions. However, misery loves company, so he recruits a gang to help him out.

Francis “Squatch” Squacieri (Lenny Venito) is Eugene’s coworker. He joins the crew in hopes to provide his family with a better life. Oh how touching, he loves his family enough to face 25 years in jail for grand larceny.

Esperanza Villalobos (Sofía Vergara) is a waitress in Queens who joins the gang so that she can get away from all bad relationships she has been in. However, she might find it easier to afford a better life and maybe pay for an education if she wasn’t so busy wearing designer clothes. Oh yeah, she’s supposed to be the sexy lady that gets us guys to watch.

Rockefeller Butts (Kevin Michael Richardson) is the heavy in the operation. And I don’t mean his weight. He is probably the only many who as ever handled a gun before the first episode. He really has no motivation for participating. I think they enlisted him because he can sing.

Also, there is perhaps the worst named character Louis Plunk (Josh Grisetti) who plays the role of the nerd. I thought nerds were the rich people in our era. Something must have happened over the Christmas break.

Finally, we come to the moral backbone of the people mob, Gourishankar “Gary” Subramaniam (Maz Jobrani). Gary is an ex-lawyer brought to cab driver who had to be coaxed into the group. I suspect that he will play somewhat of the level headed keep these guys in line role. Being that he is a lawyer though is morals don’t extend to the point that keeps him from grand larceny.

While I make fun of the overly clichéd nature of this show, I am being a cliche my self. It is predictable that I would be bothered by this show. However, I have to honestly say, I think this show will probably be a hit.

In the spirit of the Office and My Name of Earl, cliché is working for television. And the slap stick nature of this show could add to it. However, as with most comedies of today, I won’t be watching it. Sorry, I just can’t get past the Larceny aspect of this show.

Where have all the good comedies gone?

Posted in Comedy, Previews, Television, The Knights of Prosperity, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

Mid-Season Preview: 3 lbs.

Posted by Travis R Grant on November 9, 2006

The weight of the brain is roughly 3 lbs. Thus, CBS’s new show about the life and work of brain surgeons is titled 3 lbs. And while this show hasn’t officially aired on CBS yet, you can watch the season premier on their innertube.

Before having watched this show, I honestly wasn’t sure the I would enjoy it. In my adult life, I have never been much into doctor shows, and this seemed to be too much of a rip off of Fox’s House, a show that I haven’t been able to stomach much.

However, I think that CBS has put together a great program here. The young but experienced doctor, Jonathan Seger (Mark Feuerstein), joins the most renowned brain surgery group in New York.

At first, Dr. Seger is excited to work with best brain surgeon in America, Dr. Douglas Hanson (Stanley Tucci). However, he soon finds out the Dr. Hanson isn’t the easiest person to work with. But this doesn’t stop Dr. Seger. He pushes on and will hopefully find great success in his new job.

In the premiere, Dr. Seger and Dr. Hanson are asked to work on a gifted teenage musician’s brain tumor, but after the exploratory surgery, the musician loses her ability to form words. The mother, who had lost a daughter a year earlier, is nervous that she will now lose another child, get caught up in “hospital politics” and almost turns her daughter over to the less experienced radiologist to heal her daughter.

Caught in the middle of this mess, Dr. Hanson finds out the truth about the politicking and talks to the mother. This leads to an ending that leads you to wanting more. Not only are you interested in the doctors. You are interested in their successes and failures, both professional and personal.

This show is a little too House and a little too CSI. However, for now it has me hooked. While this show did push some value buttons, for now only time will tell if it goes too far.

Posted in 3 lbs., Drama, Previews, Television, TV | Leave a Comment »

Fall Preview: 1 vs. 100

Posted by Travis R Grant on October 13, 2006

It’s hard to believe that I am still doing fall previews and we are 2 weeks into October. Well, the truth of it is that NBC didn’t have 1 vs. 100 on its original line up for fall. I am guessing that they were waiting to see if Deal or No Deal was still going to have the same draw as it did last season.

If you would have asked me 9 months ago if I thought that Deal or No Deal was going to be a success, I would have told you no. I honestly thought that it would be too gimmicky and just not very entertaining. However, I would have been wrong.

With that in mind, I now look at 1 vs. 100. And honestly the jury is still out. Can NBC succeed with two game shows in their line up? We have seen that the prime time game show if done right can be a great success. But based on past shows, I think that they have limited life.

So, the question still remains, can two prime time game shows survive?

The concept of 1 vs. 100 is that one contestant takes on 100 contestants. As long as the one contestant keeps answering the questions right, then he continues on. If he eliminates all 100 competitors then he wins $1,000,000.

After each question he has the opportunity to take the money that he has won and quit. However, he can also risk it all by taking on the “mob.” With each person eliminated from the mob the cash prize goes up.

Also, the mob may consist of anyone. The premier will at the least have Ken Jennings from Jeopardy fame and some Deal or No Deal models. So, you never know who are going up against. You can also get a “lifeline” which appears to be polling the mob to see what the most common answer is.

The other part of the answer to the big question of will two game shows survive is the host. Howie Mandell makes Deal or No Deal what it is. Except for his annoying “let’s-go-to-commercial” bits, Howie seems to have just the right timing and personality to bring Deal or No Deal up a notch.

Can Bob Sagat do it? I don’t know. I still see him as the dad of the Olsen twins and punching out those terrible jokes on the original America’s Funniest Videos. This is really where I find myself stumped with this show.

One of the things I like about this show is that perhaps it will bring back some fun “family” entertainment to Friday nights. Maybe I am too nostalgic for the old days of TGIF. But for me it seems that Friday should be a day for parents and younger children to relax before the weekend. So, with Deal or No Deal and 1 vs. 100 maybe NBC will have some must see TV in our house.

Posted in Fall Preview 2006, Previews, Television, TV | 2 Comments »

Fall Preview: The Amazing Race 10

Posted by Travis R Grant on September 16, 2006

Perhaps the only reason that I even still turn on the TV anymore is because of The Amazing Race. Until LOST came around, The Race was the only show worth setting the VCR to record.

As far as I am concerned The Amazing Race is Survivor on adrenaline. If you have never seen the show, what have you been thinking? This is the reason the unscripted dramas were invented.

However, for an unscripted drama to be really successful, it really comes down to the contestants. The challenges are fun, but the real drama comes from watching the interaction between the contestants. So let’s take a look at a few.

Bilal and Sa’eed are best friends and Muslims. From what I have seen I don’t know that there is much to this team. Perhaps they bring some athleticism to the game, but I think that they are too overweight to compensate.

David and Mary are the parents of three children. If they can make it past the first leg of The Race, then I think that they have a chance. However, it all depends on how well they work together. I like this team because the have the average Joe feel about them. And I will definitely be cheering them on.

Dustin and Kandice are the buxom blonds that are standard issue with this show. Although they will say something about them being better players than they appear, I have to say that they will be like all other past beautiful girl teams; They just won’t be able to keep it together for very long.

Erwin and Godwin are brothers from California and the first Asian-American team on The Race. Although these are possible contenders, I just don’t hold out much hope for them.

Lyn and Karlyn are two mothers and best friends. Like David and Mary I think that they hold some average Joe appeal that my win them into the hearts of many viewers. I am also thinking that they may be the first to break the mom curse, and win.

Peter and Sara are both Iron Man competitors. That is a pretty awesome resume item when it comes to The Race. They cannot be ignored in this game. I see a future final three.

Tom and Terry are the over-represented gay population team. It still amazes me how many gay couples they have on this show. The gay representation sure out numbers the average homosexual population in the U.S. As a team, I don’t think that they are fit enough to make it through the first half of the show.

Vipul and Arti are billed as the first Indian-American team to compete in The Race. Why didn’t they bill Erwin and Godwin as the first Asian-American teams? Vipul and Arti might do well, but I don’t think that they will have what it takes to compete.

So, onto the predictions. I predict that the first out of The Race will be Dustin and Kandice. Bad for the ratings, but lends to the credibility of the show.

I predict that the final three will be Peter and Sarah, Tyler and James (you have to throw in the strong male team), and for the wild card position I say Lyn and Karlyn. Risky business predicting before The Race even start, but I will have final predictions later on.

My prediction for most lovable team is Lyn and Karlyn. My prediction for most hatable team is going to be Rob and Kimberly, the dating couple that this time will fight like cats and dogs.

I would love to see David and Mary win, but the average Joe couple seldom make it very far. So, as usual I will just be upset when they get knocked out, and I will continue watching the show anyway.

I am not sure about this season’s race. It just seems that people are typical, predictable, and nothing exciting. I hope that I am wrong, but if the contestants aren’t worth watching than the show isn’t worth watching.

Posted in Fall Preview 2006, Previews, Reality TV, TAR, Television, The Amazing Race, TV, Unscripted Dramas | 1 Comment »

Fall Preview: Kidnapped

Posted by Travis R Grant on September 8, 2006

From the first moment I saw a preview on TV for Kidnapped I was intrigued. I have recently given up on Without a Trace, for reasons that I might address later. But I really enjoyed the element of searching for a missing person, and Kidnapped, could fulfill that need.

However, as I learned more about this show, I had some concerns. The basic premise is that 15-year-old Leopold Cain (Will Denton) is kidnapped shortly after his father hires a bodyguard (Mykelti Williamson) and takes out a ransom insurance policy on his son.

So, Leopold’s parents, Ellie (Dana Delany) and Conrad Cain (Timothy Hutton), at the advice of a friend call in an expert, Knapp (Jeremy Sisto). They don’t call the police, perhaps from fear of the kidnapper. As the story develops it also seems that they have some family secrets that will be revealed.

Well, my major concern was the hiring in of Knapp. A former FBI agent who quit because he felt that obeying the law was too constricting. So, he became a high-profile missing persons private investigator. Knapp’s blatant disregard for the law concerns me.

However, this character adds much of the necessary suspense and action. He helps to add to the major plot of getting Leopold back and finding out who kidnapped him. Perhaps I am justifying here, but I sure feel that his lack of ethics will not be as important as I initially gave it credit.

So far NBC has done a good job at confusing everyone. Is it the father? mother? Perhaps it is a business enemy. Or is it someone we haven’t even heard about yet.

As for me, I am going to put myself out on a limb and say that Virgil, the bodyguard, is involved in the kidnapping. I think that there may even be a deeper organization that is truly at the heart of it. And that we will see that develop as this gets into more and more seasons.

This show mimics the idea of a season long plot made famous through 24 and it borrows from Without a Trace. I think that it will be a great show, and I hope to be able to catch it regularly. I think that if I miss a show, I will be lost.

Posted in Drama, Fall Preview 2006, Kidnapped, Previews, Television, TV | Leave a Comment »