Category: TV

So What Are You Watching?

In one of the best tv seasons in recent years, 24 continues to shine just a bit brighter than anything else.

Now, that’s not to say that I’m not totally digging what’s going on with The Shield. I am. Forrest Whitaker is a great addition to the cast. I love how he’s tearing apart the strike team as he slowly falls apart himself. Vic Mackey is still the man. So much so that I find myself knowing that he should go down for his past deeds but hoping that he finds a way to save himself and his team.

Lost continues to entertain and intrigue. Michelle Rodriguez was a great addition to the cast, but from all I hear, her days are numbered. Mr. Echo is perhaps the best new character on ANY show this season. I was surprised at how much the last episode gave away… or seemed to.

The West Wing returns tonight with a new episode. There are only a handful left and then it’ll be gone. Still, it’s been a great run and I look forward to the rest of the journey.

American Idol surprises me that it can remain so popular despite being on three nights a week. Of course, my family watches every episode, so I shouldn’t be too surprised. Usually by the time we’re down to the final 12, I have a pretty good idea who will win. At this point I still think that any of maybe 4 different performers have a real chance.

And finally, 24. This is my favorite show this season. Jack Bauer continues to be the best “hero” on tv. The writing, direction and acting all continue to be top notch. What takes this season to the next level is that no one is safe. [Former] President Palmer gets assassinated in the first few minutes of the first episode. Tony Almeda’s wife dies in an explosion. Edgar Stiles buys the farm last week. [And I have to tell you that I was REALLY thinking that Curtis was going to be blown to bits last week. I would have hated that since I think that it would be cool to see a season focus on him!] I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next!

So what are you watching?

Grizzly Man: Questions…

Last night I watched a riveting documentary called “Grizzly Man” which is running on the Discovery Channel. For thirteen years, Timothy Treadwell spent his summers living among Alaskan grizzly bears. Treadwell went in armed with just a camera and no backup. The footage that he captured is amazing. What’s even more amazing is that quite often Treadwell was within feet of the bears as the rested, fought, and ate. On more than one occassion Treadwell would reach out and touch them.

As I said, the footage was riveting. Knowing Treadwell‘s story takes it up another notch. You see, he and his girlfriend were killed [and eaten] by a grizzly. The documentary makes this clear from the very start. It also lets you know that the deaths were recorded but that you would not hear the sounds in the documentary. [You do see Werner Herzog, the man who created the documentary listening to them — and that is quite enough for your imagination will do the rest.]

Treadwell‘s story is compelling and Herzog doesn’t sugar coat the man. Treadwell had issues, and definitely was a bit off center, but he lived and died doing what he loved. And that is where the controversary begins…

Should he been allowed to follow his dream? Was he violating the law? Was he helping or hurting the animals that he so dearly loved?

I’d love to hear reactions from anyone who has seen the film. “Grizzly Man” rates a B+.

Don’t Go Swimming…

Don’t go swimming if you don’t want to get wet.

It never fails to amaze me when people know that if they take a particular course of action that the end result is going to displease them, and yet they take that course of action. Shouldn’t that be the definition of insanity?

If people from the Jerry Springer show call and invite you on as a guest, the ONLY logical response should be “No.”

Everyone who has ever seen even one episode of Springer knows that guests aren’t going to be treated as guests and more than likely are going to be repeatedly insulted and even physically attacked. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS… and yet, Springer continues to find people who are willing to show up and learn [along with millions of strangers] some personal secret that is guaranteed to shock, hurt and embarrass them.

“Yeah Craig,” you say, “but the people who appear on Springer are uneducated folks who don’t know better.” Ok then, what about the folks who go on the Dr. Phil show, or any of the “reality” court shows. They know that they’re going to come off looking foolish, but still they line up to be guests.

I guess they want to get wet.

Conscience is a Killer

The Shield returns for its fifth [5th!] season, this Tuesday at 10pm on FX. And I can’t wait. The tag line for The Shield this season is “Conscience is a killer.”

While The Shield isn’t for everyone, it’s definitely my cup of tea. It has characters that you care about [and not always in a good way], stories that have twists, and actors [and writers] that are at the top of their game.

Emmy award-winning actor, Forrest Whitaker joins the cast this season as a tough internal affiars agent out to bring down Mackey [Michael Chiklis].

You just know that the screen will sizzle when Chiklis and Whitaker collide. [Anyone remember the great acting in True Romance when Dennis Hopper verbally jousted with Christopher Walken? My guess is that Chiklis and Whitaker will take it to that level.]

Tune in on Tuesday at 10. You won’t be disappointed.

The Ultimate Fighter

Are any of you ZONErs, watching The Ultimate Fighter?

I do and am hooked. Just to bring you up to speed in case you don’t watch. The Ultimate Fighter18 fighters who are split up into two teams. Each week the teams compete in a compitition to determine which team chooses the two who will fight. The loser leaves the house. [which is in its second season] brings together

It’s like The Contender on steroids.

The guys who compete in Ultimate Fighting are real life tough guys. They usually have a strong background in wrestling, boxing and the martial arts. Many are experts in more than one discipline. And…

They. Love. To. Fight.

I’m not talking about sparing. Or working out. Or where you knock a guy down and then back up until he’s on his feet. I’m talking about fighting… you know, FIGHTING!

This sport isn’t for everyone. It’s not even a sport that everyone can watch, let alone compete in.

Still, I have to admit, I tune in each week.

A New Menace in Mackey’s Life

The Shield is so good that waiting for new episodes to start up is like waiting for Christmas to come when you’re a kid. Actually since The Shield doesn’t start up until January, it’s actually worse than waiting for Christmas!

The great news is that Forest Whitaker is joining the cast as “a new menace in Vic Mackey‘s life.” Whitaker will play an ambitious Internal Affairs agent “who is tasked with investigating rogue cop Mackey.”

Oh man, this should be good. Now if only January would get here.

Over There to be Seen Over There

The other day I posted that Over There is my favorite show of the summer. So you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Over There  will soon be seen in about 100 territories around the world.

The fact that Over There has been picked up in so many territories increases the odds that the series will be back next season. And that just makes my day.

A New Season of "Must See" TV

The new tv season is nearly upon us and so I thought it might be fun to take a look at the shows that have made my MUST SEE TV list:

Sunday has traditionally been one of the weakest nights of the week and the new season looks to be more of the same. The only show that I plan to watch is West Wing [NBC]. Although last season was one of the best for West Wing, the new night could spell trouble. Since the Bartlett‘s are on the way out, fans may decide that they should
be as well. I hope not.

Monday looks to have just the right mix of shows. At 8PM, I’ll check out Surface [NBC]. This show has a lot of potential – an “adventure-drama” about what happens when sea creatures [monsters?] are discovered all across the world’s oceans. At 9PM, I’ll switch over to FOX and check out Prison Break and at 10, it’ll be back to NBC for the highly under-rated Medium.
Tuesday belongs to 24 and The Shield, but since they won’t start up for a while I plan to give WB‘s Supernatural at 9PM a shot. Given the WB‘s track record with making my MUST SEE TV list, this could be bad, especially since my wife will want to watch The Amazing Race on CBS.

Wednesday is the greatly anticipated return of Lost at 9PM on ABC. I’ll also probably dvr E-Ring on NBC at the same time. At 10, I’ll keep it on ABC and check out Invasion. Seems that creepy is back in with Invasion, Supernatural and Surface all premiering this season. I wonder how many will last for two.

Thursday was for years THE night for tv. Not anymore. Survivor on CBS at 8PM will continue to be a family event. At 9PM, I’ll switch over to ABC and give the Night Stalker a shot. I remember watching Darrin McGavin in the original Night Stalker movie back in 1972. It was a fun movie… but I didn’t much care for the tv series that followed. Maybe this one will be better.

Friday is the second worst night of the week for tv [thank goodness for dvds]. I will give Threshold at 8PM on CBS a try since it has the same Invasion/Supernatural/Surface vibe.

Saturdays is the pits. I always hope that the SciFi Channel will have a halfway decent flick but that’s rarely the case… still I continue to tune in.

Before I bring this post to a close, I want to mention the shows that I’ve enjoyed this summer: Hell’s Kitchen hooked me and I wasn’t sure I’d care about it at all; So You Think You Can Dance is as much fun as American Idol; Hogan Knows Best shows a side of The Hulkster that makes you wish he was your neighbor; Celebrity Fitness Club had me watching celebrities that I didn’t even watch when they were famous [well, except for Gary Busey!]; Wanted has characters quirky enough to elevate it from the run of the mill cop show; The Ultimate Fighter is like The Contender on steroids; and my favorite summer show has turned out to be Over There.

Well, that’s what I’m looking forward to from the new season. Have I missed anything?

Bob Denver’s Legacy

Bob Denver, the clueless hero of “Gilligan’s Island” has died at the age of 70.

Denver, as Gilligan,. set sail on what should have been a three-hour tour but instead ended up being a 40 year adventure entertaining several generations of fans.

I was five years old when “Gilligan’s Island” premiered and I can remember watching each week. They castaways were funny. Especially Gulligan.

The show ran for only three seasons. The funny thing is it never died. Bob Denver has 25 credits listed in the Internet Movie Database. Eight of them have direct ties to Gulligan’s Island. Talk about creating an enduring and endearing character.

I didn’t care much for Gilligan’s Island once I was older. I remember watching Rescue from Gilligan’s Island and thinking how stupid it was. It wasn’t stupid though, it was silly. The kind of silly that little kids eat up… like I did when I used to watch Gilligan and the castways in their initial run.

Bob Denver‘s three hour tour will never end. He’ll continue to entertain generation after generation. Smiles and the sounds of laughter is a great legacy.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fans of Mr. Denver.

You Won’t Believe a Man Can Fly

Yesterday, I said that I usually don’t buy tv series dvds for my collection. Then I talked up one. Any guess what I’m about to do today?

Yep, today I’m recommending the first season dvd of Superman.

If you’re anywhere near my age [46], then George Reeves WAS Superman. And sure, the effects were low budget [ok, no budget], but man, did we love the show.

I can’t wait to get the chance to love it again!

What Would I Have to Lose?

I usually don’t purchase tv series for my dvd collection.

I may make an exception though when Lost comes to dvd on September 6th.

Lost was on my “Must See TV” list from its premiere and it continued to gain momentum with each new episode. What was not to like? Great characters. A great mystery. And just enough info to REALLY wonder what the heck is going on.

The dvd extras and price [$38.99] also add to the appeal for making Lost a dvd addition to my collection.

Bruce Lee Lives!

On November 27th of this year, Bruce Lee would have been 65 years old. Amazing isn’t it?

It’s hard to imagine Bruce as ever being older than 32, since that’s how old he was when he died on July 20, 1973. Think about that for a second. Bruce Lee died 32 years ago. Bruce has been dead now for a longer period of time than he lived. And yet, you can say his name to almost anyone of any age and they know who Bruce Lee was.

My guess is that he’s more popular now than he was while alive. I say that because each year a new generation discovers Bruce Lee and his movies [and he only made a handful of kung fu movies before he died].

I’m old enough that my first memory of Bruce was as Kato on The Green Hornet. Man, Kato was cool! Of course, that was because of Bruce‘s charisma.

After The Green Hornet, Bruce‘s next onscreen performance was with James Garner in Marlowe. Bruce had a small role as a martial artist thug.

I also fondly remember my anticipation to see Bruce in the tv movieLongstreet.Lee played the part of a martial artist who trains a blind insurance investigator the art of self defense. When the movie spun off into a short lived tv series, Lee was brought back for four of the 23 episodes.

It wasn’t long after that Bruce Lee‘s Fist of Fury aka The Big Boss hit the US. It was quickly followed by The Chinese Connection and Return of the Dragon [with Chuck Norris fighting Bruce to the death]. Bruce Lee fever was growing, but it wasn’t until the release of Enter the Dragon that Bruce Lee mania really soared. Sadly, Bruce Lee died three weeks prior to it’s premiere in the USA.

As you probably know, Enter the Dragon is the classic Bruce Lee movie… it’s still the best kung fu movie ever made… and arguments can be made the best action movie as well.

After Bruce‘s death, producers sought every way possible to continue to make money from Bruce Lee. Green Hornet episodes were combined and released as features with Kato getting top billing! The Game of Death, the movie that Bruce was working on when he died was completed with a look-alike and bad effects and it was released. Several movies were released “based” on the life of Bruce Lee [but made to look like new Bruce Lee movies], equally as bad were the movies starring guys like Bruce Li or Bruce Le trying to pass as the original. The one excellent documentary that should be in every Bruce Lee fan’s collection is
Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey.

Earlier this year Bruce Lee was named “Chinese Film’s Bright Star of the Century.” This November, in honor of Bruce‘s 65th birthday and bigger than life bronze statue of Bruce will be errected in Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars. You can read the details HERE.

Yeah it’s true that Bruce Lee died 32 years ago… but it’s equally true that Bruce Lee will live forever!

“Marlowe” rates a C+
“Fists of Fury” rates a C
“Chinese Connection” rates a C
“Return of the Dragon” rates a B
“Enter the Dragon” rates an A+
“Game of Death” rates a C
“Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey” rates an A+

Twilight Zone Marathon

Long time ZONE readers know that one of my biggest pleasures as a kid was staying up late and watching scary movies and tv shows.

I still get a kick out ’em.

You can imagine how much I enjoy it when the Scifi channel runs it’s Twilight Zone marathon.

Starting at 11PM tomorrow night and running until 4AM on the 5th, you can tune in and watch the classic Twilight Zone episodes from the 60’s. While I doubt that many of us will last for all 29 hours, there are many episodes worth checking out, including two of my favorites.

The first, “Terror at 20,000 Feet” involves a man [played by William Shatner] who has just been released from a mental institution.

On a plane ride home he sees a creature on the wing of the plane trying to destroy the engine… but no one else sees it. He knows it’s out there, but everyone believes that he’s having another breakdown…

The second is called “To Serve Man.”

Aliens arrive on Earth and all indications are they came in peace… but do they really?

Even if you can’t watch them all [and who can?], maybe you can plan to tune in to see an old favorite or one you’ve never seen before.

I know that I will…

And for just a little while I’ll be a kid again, up on the couch hoping that someone else besides me and Bill Shatner sees the creature on the wing!

Aliens… Monsters…. UFOs and a Very Big Universe

When I was a little kid, I used to love movies and tv shows about aliens coming to Earth.

If we were lucky, they were friendly and intelligent like Michael Rennie in The Day that the Earth Stood Still. He even looked human.

Then again, so did the aliens in the 60’s tv show The Invaders. [I haven’t seen an episode in years, and wonder how it would hold up.]

Sometimes the aliens were simply monsters out to wipe us out, like in the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers or War of the Worlds. [And, yes, I’m really looking forward to the update by Spielberg and Cruise.]

Occasionally, there would be just one alien. And boy, were we lucky that there was only one if the alien ended up being like The Blob or The Thing.

Growing up, I not only liked movies and tv shows about aliens, but I also read and watched programs about UFOs.

I still do.

Think how cool it would be if we could find definitive proof of intelligent life in outer space. Uh… as long as they weren’t out to wipe us out.

As I get older, I stil retain that sense of wonder about life in outer space. Most likely it’s out there. It’s just that the universe is such a huge place.

Don’t believe me? Click HERE and see.