Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CSI Miami Holiday Rock & Roll

By popular demand – and because it just begged to be done – here are the faces of your favorite CSI Miami stars in a rock and roll holiday romp.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Men of a Certain Age: "Same as the Old Boss” Advance Photos

Here are a few advance photos from TNT for a new episode of Men of A Certain Age, titled “Same as the Old Boss.” The episode airs on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). Men of A Certain Age stars Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, and Andre Braugher.

All photos by Greg Gayne

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Men of a Certain Age: “If I Could, I Surely Would” Advance Photos

Here are a few advance photos from TNT for a the season premiere of Men of A Certain Age, “If I Could, I Surely Would” airing on Monday, December 6, 2010 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). Men of A Certain Age stars Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, and Andre Braugher.

All photos by Danny Feld

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“Men of a Certain Age” Winter Season Episode Synopses

Here’s the episode list, synopses, and air dates for the 2010-2011 winter season of TNT’s “Men of A Certain Age.”

“If I Could, I Surely Would” – Season Premiere: Monday, Dec. 6, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Joe is determined to get himself back in good shape on the golf course, but having to get up at the crack of dawn to practice is starting to wear on him. Plus, his new house just happens to be in the same neighborhood as his former bookie. Owen is now manager of his father’s auto dealership, but his decision to hire Terry is starting to look like a bad move. It turns out Terry’s acting skills aren’t helping him succeed in selling any cars. He’s also not exactly cut out for a 9-to-5 job.

Directed by Ed Bianchi
Written by Mike Royce & Ray Romano
Created by Ray Romano & Mike Royce

“Same as the Old Boss” – Monday, Dec. 13, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Joe attempts to stick to a schedule that will allow him time to practice his golf game, but it’s a fruitless endeavor. Owen tries to assert some authority over the car dealership’s service department, but being the manager is starting to have a negative impact on his life, especially his marriage. Terry becomes the butt of his coworker’s pranks when they discover a video of one of his old commercials online.

Directed by Jennifer Getzinger
Written by Mark Stegemann
Created by Ray Romano & Mike Royce

“Cold Calls” – Monday, Dec. 20, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Joe finds himself dating two women at the same time, but he’s not quite sure how to handle the situation. Terry agrees to a bet with a fellow car salesman over who can unload the most cars by the end of the day. Owen pushes his father to stop undermining his authority at the dealership.

Directed by Ed Bianchi
Written by Itamar Moses
Created by Ray Romano & Mike Royce

“The Bad Guy” – Monday, Dec. 27, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
In the midst of finalizing his divorce, Joe makes a surprising discovery about his teenage daughter. Owen goes to a car convention, where he gets some important and unexpected news from his father. And Terry is approached about a television commercial he did many years ago. Penelope Ann Miller guest-stars.

Directed by Millicent Shelton
Written by Siân Heder
Created by Ray Romano & Mike Royce

“And Then the Bill Comes” – Monday, Jan. 3, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Joe feels conflicted after finding out some news about his former bookie, Manfro (guest star Jon Manfrellotti). Terry begins to embrace the benefits of having a 9-to-5 job. Owen takes a huge step towards resolving the tension between sales and service.

Directed by David Boyd
Written by Bridget Bedard
Created by Ray Romano & Mike Royce

“Let the Sunshine In” – Monday, Jan. 10, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
When Terry announces he’s going to get a colonoscopy for his 50th birthday, the guys all decide to get one, making a weekend out of it in Palm Springs. While there, Joe deals with his “mind” bets, Terry can’t stop thinking about Erin and Owen opens up about his dad and the dealership.

Directed by David Boyd
Written by Tucker Cawley
Created by Ray Romano & Mike Royce

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TNT Winter Highlights: The Closer, Southland, Men of Certain Age, and More!

Here’s a press release from TNT outlining the shows coming up for their winter season - mark your calendars!

press release from TNT
Winter Highlights

TNT Original Series

THE CLOSER – Season 6 returns Monday, Dec. 6, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Cable’s biggest series of all time is enjoying a spectacular sixth season of complex cases for Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, played with relish by this year’s Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Kyra Sedgwick. She is joined once again by the show’s four-time SAG Award®-nominated ensemble cast, including Corey Reynolds (The Terminal), G.W. Bailey (M*A*S*H), Tony Denison (Melrose Place), Raymond Cruz (Collateral Damage), Michael Paul Chan (Arrested Development) and Phillip P. Keene (The D.A.). The series also stars Jon Tenney (The Division) as Brenda’s husband, FBI Agent Fritz Howard; J.K. Simmons (Juno, Burn After Reading) as her demanding boss, Will Pope; and Robert Gossett (Arlington Road) as the head of Robbery-Homicide, Commander Taylor.

Since its premiere in 2005, THE CLOSER has earned numerous ad-supported cable viewership records, ranking as the #1 series of all time and scoring the #1 series telecast of all time. For its sixth season, the show is averaging a series high 8.4 million viewers.

MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE – Season 2 premieres Monday, Dec. 6, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Last winter, viewers and critics fell in love with this funny and dramatic series about three men finding their way through midlife. Emmy® winner Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond), Golden Globe® winner Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Enterprise) and Emmy winner Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street, TNT’s Salem’s Lot) star in the series, which was created by Romano and Everybody Loves Raymond Emmy winner Mike Royce. MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE centers on Joe (Romano), a friendly, 40-something, slightly neurotic, recently separated father of two who had dreams of being a professional golfer but instead owns and runs a party store. He has two best friends: Owen (Braugher), an overstressed husband and father who is a car salesman at his dad’s dealership; and Terry (Bakula), an offbeat, handsome, intelligent and still-struggling-to-make-it actor.

In its first season, MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE was watched by an average 4.2 million viewers, making it one of ad-supported cable’s Top 5 new series of the year. The show went on to appear on several television critics’ year-end Top 10 lists. Earlier this year, Braugher earned an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. This series from TNT Original Productions is executive-produced by Romano, Royce, Rory Rosegarten and Cary Hoffman.

LEVERAGE – Special three-episode event begins Sunday, Dec. 12, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Television’s coolest gang of thieves, grifters and con artists are ready to close out the year in a big way as TNT’s hit series LEVERAGE returns to finish its exciting third season this December. This light-hearted, fast-paced drama – starring Academy Award® winner Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge – is set to return with a special holiday episode guest-starring Dave Foley (NewsRadio, Kids in the Hall) and marking the re-appearance of Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation). The series’ explosive two-part season finale on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) will guest-star Goran Visnjic (ER) and actress-model Elisabetta Canalis.

LEVERAGE, which is executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian movies) and creators John Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens), has averaged 4.5 million viewers in its third season.

SOUTHLAND – Season 3 premieres Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
This critically acclaimed drama series takes viewers directly to the streets of LA to present an intensely personal, first-person look at cops and detectives on the beat. The extraordinary series – starring Michael Cudlitz (Band of Brothers, A River Runs Through It), Shawn Hatosy (Alpha Dog), Regina King (Ray, Jerry Maguire) and Ben McKenzie (The O.C.) – defied the odds when an outpouring of support from fans resulted in the series finding a home on television’s premier drama network. The series has redefined the police drama genre with its a raw, authentic look at the lives and work of detectives and beat cops. Shot on location in the streets and neighborhoods of Los Angeles, SOUTHLAND captures a realistic, natural environment where similar situations can and often do occur in real life.

SOUTHLAND is from John Wells Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Created by Emmy winner Ann Biderman (NYPD Blue, Public Enemies), the series is executive-produced by Biderman, Emmy winner Chris Chulack (ER, Third Watch) and Wells. Chulack is also a primary director of the series.

TNT Special Events

CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON – Friday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)
Mariah Carey, Miranda Cosgrove, Annie Lennox, Maxwell and Matthew Morrison are scheduled to join host Ellen DeGeneres as TNT rings in the holidays with this annual holiday treasure. Annually attended by the President and First Lady and other Washington VIPs, CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON is a holiday musical celebration benefiting the Children’s National Medical Center. The show takes place at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. This year marks TNT’s 12th presentation of the event, which is in its 29th year overall. TNT’s telecast will be followed at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) by a special holiday presentation of the classic The Wizard of Oz.

17th Annual SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® – Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, at 8 p.m. (ET), 5 p.m. (PT), 7 p.m. (CT) and 6 p.m. (MT)
One of the industry’s most respected award presentations, this prestigious industry event honors performances in five film categories and eight television categories, including the unique Ensemble Award and an award for stunt performers. This year’s simulcast on TNT and TBS will be presented live in all time zones, allowing viewers on the West Coast to see the event live for the first time. West Coast viewers who prefer to watch in primetime will be able to catch the encore presentation on TNT at 7 p.m. (PT) / 10 p.m. (ET).

TNT Special Movie Presentations
Michael Clayton (TNT Premiere) – Friday, Nov. 26, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT); Saturday, Nov. 27, at 5:30 p.m. (ET/PT); Sunday, Nov. 28, at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT)

The Forbidden Kingdom (Network Television Premiere) – Friday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

The Dark Night (Network Television Premiere) – Saturday, Jan. 22, and Sunday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)

TNT Sports
NBA on TNT – Regular-season coverage each Thursday night

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Friday, November 19, 2010

“Southland” 2011 Cast Promotional Photo

Here’s a brand new promotional photo from TNT with the main cast of “Southland” which returns on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 10 PM ET. The photo features Michael Cudlitz, Ben McKenzie, Regina King, and Shawn Hatosy. (Click on the image for a large view.)

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Fringe “The Abducted” Recap & Review

All photos from Fox

Despite being set in the alternate universe, Fringe returned to its roots with a tale from the weird. While there was an actual Fringe case for the team to work, Olivia’s (Anna Torv) need to get back home was still a big part of this very interesting story. The episode also gives viewers a look into the life of Colonel Broyles, a person who seems cold on the outside but we find is a normal wife and father.

The alternate Fringe team is called in to handle a kidnapping. Kidnappings aren’t something that our usual Fringe team handles, but in the alternate universe, they are given very high priority. The Secretary – AKA “Walternate” (John Noble) – whose own son Peter (Joshua Jackson) was abducted by “our” Walter – doesn’t seem to want any parent to suffer as he did when his own son was stolen. In fact, the Peter Bishop Act of 1991 says every kidnapping of a child is treated as a possible Fringe event.

While Olivia is working the case, she’s also trying to get back home. She knows that her usefulness to Walternate is over and she has to get back before they eliminate her. She enlists the help of Henry the cab driver (Andre Royo) and wants his help to get a boat so she can get back to Liberty Island and the tank which is used to help her cross over to the other side.

The alternate Fringe team – Olivia, Lincoln (Seth Gabel ) and Charlie (Kirk Acevedo) realize that child of the current kidnapping case was taken by a serial kidnapper known as The Candy Man (he sweats sugar). This is not good news to Colonel Broyles (Lance Reddick), whose own son was taken by The Candy Man before the (faux) Olivia had joined the Fringe team. When his son was found, like the other children, the life was drained out of them, many had deterioration of organ tissue, their immune systems were depleted, and some children came back with cancer. Olivia realizes that based on what some of the children reported, there seems to have been two men involved in the kidnappings. Despite being told not to do so, Olivia approaches Broyles and wants to talk to his son Chris (Curtis Harris). Broyles is furious with her. But later, he changes his mind when his wife reassures him that their son can handle it.

It’s Chris’ recollection of a prayer–like incantation from the kidnapper that helps Olivia get the clues which leads the team to a church and one of the church members, and she rescues the kidnap victim. She does make one mistake – she refers to the FBI during her rescue and the boy hears it. They find that The Candy Man was stealing hormones from the children and using them to make a serum to help members of the church heal their own illnesses. Olivia then realizes that the church leader is also involved, and lucky for Broyles and his family, she gets the information to Broyles in time. He is able to shoot and kill the reverenced who has entered Broyles' home and has his hands on Chris, ready to administer chloroform to knock him out.

Later at the hospital, they hope the serum will help the kidnapped children recover. When Olivia speaks to the recent kidnap victim, he asks her what is the FBI. It seems Olivia didn’t realize she had even said "FBI" when she came to save him, but she quickly covers. But Broyles has heard their conversation and when he tells her the FBI ceased to exist over 10 years ago, he asks her "You know who you are, don't you?" She asks him what happens now. But Broyles, maybe grateful for what she’s done to help his own child, seems to decide that nothing will happen, because he’s going home.

Henry, meanwhile, is still waiting with the boat, and he takes Olivia over so she can make the swim to Liberty Island. She makes her way in – setting off a silent security alert – but gets into the tank and makes it to the other side. She’s back in the Liberty Island gift shop and a cleaning woman spots her. But, as the scene seems to shift and blur, she knows she’s getting pulled back.. She tells the cleaning woman she has something important to tell her that's going to sound insane – and then we see she’s back in the tank, being yanked out by an incensed Walternate. As she screams that she doesn’t belong there, they sedate her.

Back on “our” side, Peter and alternate Olivia are cuddling in bed watching the movie “Casablanca” and she has the details about the film wrong. When they get ready to go to sleep, Peter gets a call. It’s the cleaning woman, and she said she’s calling from New York. She saw a woman who said her name was Olivia disappear in front of her eyes, and that Olivia had a message for Peter - that she’s trapped in the other universe. Peter gets that look on his face that suddenly some things makes sense.

There’s already been a lot of press about what happens in the next episode (don’t read any further if you don’t want to know) that Colonel Broyles will help Olivia get back and the alternate Olivia also returns where she belongs. “The Abducted” was a great set up to the swap, since Broyles seems to have gained respect, and some sympathy, for our Olivia because of her work in the kidnapping case. A sneak peak and the Fox promo for that episode is below. Will this mean that they are closing the door for good on the alternate universe? I doubt it. I wonder if part of the alternate Olivia’s plan was to get pregnant by Peter, and if somehow that child would have the ability to operate the yet to be built “doomsday” machine? That’s speculation on my part, but it would be a logical step in the plan. It seems nothing that the alternate Olivia has done has been without a plan or without guidance. Either way, the next episode looks exciting!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Southland" Returns in January 2011 - New TNT Promo Video

Here’s the newly released promotion from TNT for “Southland” which returns on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 10 PM ET. "Southland" stars Michael Cudlitz, Ben McKenzie, and Regina King. If you like gritty crime dramas, this is the show for you. It's one of my favorites!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

House “A Pox on Our House” Recap & Review

All photos ©Fox

“A Pox on Our House” is a fitting title for this episode of "House". There were a lot of things going on in this episode, but the main story involved two patients who seemed to be infected with smallpox – and as usual, House puts himself in the middle of it.

The episode starts off far away from Princeton Plainsboro Teaching hospital, not just in location but in time. A slave ship is sunk because it is believed the slaves are all infected with smallpox. Years later, when a scuba-diving family finds a glass jar at the shipwreck location and the jar breaks, it a young girl gets infected with a mystery disease. House’s (Hugh Laurie’s) team of doctors – Foreman (Omar Epps), Chase (Jesse Spencer), Taub (Peter Jacobsen), and the new addition with an unfortunate wardrobe, Masters (Amber Tamblyn) go through their usual routine trying to figure out just exactly what they are dealing with. Things get complicated when the girl’s father comes down with symptoms as well. When they seem more certain that it’s smallpox, the CDC is called and the hospital is put on lockdown.

Before I get too deep into this story, this may be a good place to get the side story out of the way. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is treating a very young cancer patient – Eve (Devon Woods) - who will only go through her treatment if her little stuffed animal, a lamb, is with her. When her mother heads home to get it, the hospital goes on lockdown and she can’t get back in. As a result, Eve refuses to go ahead with the treatment. Wilson’s girlfriend Sam (Cynthia Watros) tries to convince Eve to go ahead with the treatment without it, but Sam's communication skills with children leaves something to be desired. Wilson and Sam try getting another stuffed lamb from the hospital gift shop but Eve is on to the ruse. When Sam eventually finds the right words to convince Eve to go ahead, Wilson watches how Sam interacts with her and later decides maybe Sam should have a baby. That’s exactly what that relationship – and this show – doesn’t need.

Cuddy is also being unusually nice to House, and he’s worried that she’s on to his lie from the previous episode of House, “Office Politics,” where he faked a blood test. House gets the nerve to fess up to Cuddy, and it’s clear she was aware of the lie and not too happy with House. So what else is new? It surprises me that Cuddy would think that their relationship would suddenly make House tow the ethical line; it’s like asking rain not to be wet.

Back to the smallpox case. It seems that newbie Dr. Masters is the only one who to come up with any concrete ideas on this case, and seems to have more drive than the other doctors – except for House – to figure it out. House may think her honesty and ethics are a big flaw, but her taking the high road seems to get her access to the patients where House and his team could not. The team tries to use the ship's original logs to get help on what other illnesses this could be, and because the log is in Dutch, House does what every person would do – contact a Dutch on-line stripper and has the document emailed to her so she can translate. It’s things like this that cheapen this show and ruin whatever drama or suspense had been building. I also found it odd that after all these years someone didn’t already have the log translated to English.
Things get dicey when Doctor Broda (Dylan Baker) from the CDC becomes a real roadblock to House. When Broda refuses to allow House to treat the father with interferon to help the man fight what House thinks is a recurrence of cancer on top of his illness, House barges into the man’s room without a protective suit. He treats the man but it doesn’t seem to do any good. I’m a little confused here as to why Broda wouldn’t have just had someone suit up and give it to the man, seeing that the man was likely not going to live if the disease truly was smallpox - what would be the harm? I also don’t understand why, if House was exposed to the illness once he went into the room unprotected, why he later put on a protective suit. Was it to prevent him getting smallpox if he hadn’t already been exposed by that brief contact? There was something clumsy about this whole sequence of events, but it is highly possible that I just missed some dialog that would have helped this make more sense.

House isn’t getting any symptoms, but the father also isn’t getting any better despite the interferon, and he dies. Broda won’t let House into another isolation area so he’s stuck in the room with dead dad.

Later, when House’s team reviews their options, Masters goes back to the Dutch stripper for more translation. She hones into the fact that the captain’s cat lost its fur and then died. Masters realized that animals carry rickettsialpox and the team realizes that this is really what they are dealing with – and it’s treatable. But Broda is planning to bleach the body and won’t let the team in to look closely for evidence of rickettsialpox. Masters yells to House to do the examination himself, and House feels that he has to take off his gloves in order to do a proper exam. This is another segment that made no sense to me. If Broda had to send in men to bleach the body, why couldn’t they have preformed a routine look for the evidence of rickettsialpox – or at least handled the body so House cold look? Why did House have to take off his gloves when once he turned the body on its side he easily saw the evidence of rickettsialpox? I am sure it was all for dramatic effect, but in my mind, the way they handled this seemed illogical.

As rickettsialpox is treatable with antibiotics, everything comes out OK. We knew it would, since it was unlikely they would have the show’s star be exposed to smallpox.

The episode closes with Cuddy walking away from House, clearly in an unforgiving mood. The only person Cuddy should be angry at is herself – for her own stupidity in thinking that just because she and House are now intimate that this will change him. Each week, I find that I have less and less respect for Cuddy. She should know House by now and shouldn’t be surprised that her magical sexual powers can’t make House change who he is. Hopefully this will serve as the beginning of the end of their relationship.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

“The Closer” Mid Season Recap (Video)

closer, Kyra Sedgwick, tntcloser, Kyra Sedgwick, tntcloser, Kyra Sedgwick, tnt

Do you need to get caught up on season 6 of ”The Closer” (TNT) before it returns on December 6th? Here’s a quick and easy way – a video recap of the season so far! By the way, you can get information on the new episodes coming up in December here:

“The Closer”: New Episodes for December 2010

The Closer “High Crimes” “Old Money” “An Ugly Game” Advance Photos

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Closer: “High Crimes” “Old Money” “An Ugly Game” Advance Photos

Here are some advance photos from TNT for the upcoming new episodes of
”The Closer” (TNT) airing in December.

“Old Money” - Premieres Monday, Dec. 6, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

“High Crimes” – Monday, Dec. 13, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

“An Ugly Game” – Monday, Dec. 20, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

All photos by Karen Neal for TNT

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“The Closer”: New Episodes Airing December 2010

Photo by TNT

Kyra Sedgwick, 2010 Emmy winner for Best Actress in a Leading Roll on ”The Closer” , returns to TNT on December 6, 2010 for new episodes that will air on TNT. The Closer’s sixth season will wrap up with a special two-part season finale on December 27 and January 5. The Closer is one of my own favorite crime dramas and the cast is exceptional.

Here’s the episode synopses for these new episodes; advance photos for these new episodes will be posted soon! All episodes air on Mondays at 9 PM/ET, 8 PM/C

“Old Money” - Premieres Monday, Dec. 6, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
One of Brenda’s detectives is ambushed on the street, and the main clue to figuring out the motive behind the attack is a garbage bag containing more than $37,500. The investigation then turns into a race to clear the detective’s name over allegations of witness tampering. Guest star Mary McDonnell returns as Capt. Sharon Raydor.

Directed by Nelson McCormick
Written by Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny

“High Crimes” – Monday, Dec. 13, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Chief of Police Tommy Delk (guest star Courtney B. Vance) assigns Major Crimes a seemingly minor case involving the armed robbery of several medical marijuana dispensaries. But when one of the robberies turns into a murder, the case becomes a test of Brenda’s readiness to move up in the department.

Directed by Nicole Kassell
Written by Ralph Gifford & Carson Moore

“An Ugly Game” – Monday, Dec. 20, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
The routine arrest of a crack addict exposes a questionable rehab facility and leads Brenda and her squad on a race to find a missing young woman. The case leads Gabriel to question Brenda’s judgment and Fritz to reveal to Brenda the some ugly truths about his past.

Directed by Sheelin Choksey
Written by Duppy Demetrius

“Living Proof, Part 1” – Monday, Dec. 27, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
A long-brewing feud leads to stabbing on Christmas Eve and the accidental death of a patriarch in a case that threatens to derail everyone’s holiday plans. Brenda is especially put out, since her parents (guest stars Frances Sternhagen and Barry Corbin) are in town, and they have a very special announcement. Guest star Mary McDonnell returns as Captain Raydor.

Directed by Rick Wallace
Written by Leo Geter

“Living Proof, Part 2” – Monday, Jan. 3, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
A blood feud within a refugee family from Kosovo results in another victim, forcing Brenda and her team, along with Captain Raydor (guest star Mary McDonnell) to continue their investigation on Christmas Day. But Brenda’s attention is then diverted when the RV her parents (guest stars Frances Sternhagen and Barry Corbin) drove to Los Angeles is robbed, and all the holiday gifts stored inside stolen.

Directed by James Duff
Written by Michael Alaimo & Steven Kane

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Fringe “6955 kHz” Recap & Review

All photos from Fox

Yet again Fringe (Fox) delivers another fascinating episode in this season’s main story of two universes on a collision course. In “6955 kHz” we are on our own side, but with the alternate Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) continuing to pass herself off as the real thing. The episode gets its title from a mysterious radio signal at 6955 kHz which wipes the memories of those people who are happening to listen its transmission. One doesn’t have to be a fan of science fiction to enjoy Fringe because it offers an interesting mystery that doesn’t require massive amounts of effort to follow from episode to episode.

The episode starts with 15 people scattered on Eastern Seaboard who suffer retrograde amnesia from listening to their shortwave radios on the same frequency – 6955 kHz. The Fringe team – Dunham, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and Walter Bishop (John Noble) are called in to investigate. They find those people were listening to radio “number stations” and discover that people have been trying to crack the code of the mysterious numbers transmissions for years. The Fringe team believes these amnesia victims were close to cracking the code, and this is why their memories were erased.

Meanwhile, Peter and Olivia continue to cement their romantic relationship. Walter, however, is dismayed that Peter continues to work on the device from the other side.

To examine the transmission without causing the memory erasure, Walter finds a way using a children's toy that makes animal sounds plus a guitar wa-wa pedal. There are two sound waves from the broadcast, one for the numbers, and one for a pulse which is what erased the listeners’ memories. When the Fringe team finds a floating cube at the radio station that made the transmission, they get a fingerprint off the cube and Walter tries to find how the cube works.

While all this is going on, there are signs that Olivia may not be who she says she is, but is anyone really picking up on it? Olivia doesn’t seem to have immediate recall of Ed Markham, the bookstore owner, whose name appeared on a list of one of the initial memory victims chat rooms. She asks Nina (Blair Brown) to talk to Walter about Peter and the machine, and Nina thinks it’s unlike Olivia not to take the direct approach herself. When Peter asks her to recall the numbers from the transmission, Olivia, who is supposed to have a photographic memory, seems to be slow with the recall.

As the team works on the mystery of the numbers, they find out from Markham that it was rumored that when Marconi invented the first radio, he turned it on to hear the numbers already over the airwaves, Markham gives Olivia and Peter a book called “The First People” who were allegedly here long before us, and they apparently had discovered the “Vacuum” which is something like the Big Bang which both creates and destroys. Peter realizes that the numbers heard in the transmissions correspond to an early calendar in the book. Astrid (Jasika Nicole) works on cracking the code, thinking it is some sort of “decoder ring” of sorts.

Later, they get a second cube when another transmission occurs, this time affecting a plane in flight, causing it to crash. It’s that second cube where Peter finds a component that looks new; it's a Polish, military-grade transistor that would have to be registered. But Olivia already knows who is planting the devices, and while others work to crack the code and to trace the source of the component, she heads to the apartment of Joseph Feller (Kevin Weisman) to tell him they are on to him. When she gets a call from Broyles (Lance Reddick) that they are on their way to Feller's, she kills Feller by sending him out his high rise apartment window, to fall to his death. He “bleeds” mercury – he’s a shape shifter. Olivia says he came at her and she had no choice. Peter sees that Fellers’ data storage unit was destroyed in the fall.

Back at the lab, Astrid, possibly inspired by a special sandwich Walter made for her to help her thought process, cracks the code of the numbers - they are coordinates to locations all across the world. The team assumes since the number transmissions are old, that they may be looking for something buried at each location. They excavate the closest location in New Jersey and find what looks like a component to the device that Peter has been working on from the other side. Astrid also finds that one of the locations is for the house where a piece of Walternate's machine was already found buried (located a few episodes ago).
Walter seems to have changed his mind and wants to help Peter assemble the machine, thinking that the outcome doesn’t have to be complete destruction of their world or the alternate.

Olivia heads back to the typewriter which allows her to communicate with the alternate universe and types “ They've located the pieces of the device." The response : "Well done. Initiate Phase Two."

But, back on the alternate side, the real Olivia gets a call from Brandon (Ryan James McDonald ) from the lab; he’s canceling her tank dunk for the day. She sees her “vision” of Peter and he tells her she has to get out of there, and she must know why they canceled the test - they already have what they need from her. He urges "You have to go home."

This is the big question for Fringe viewers – just when will our Olivia get home? So far, the story is not getting old and there is plenty of mystery involving both sides that can keep viewers entertained. Still, as the faux-Olivia’s romance with Peter continues to grow, I find myself hoping that the real Olivia returns sooner than later.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

House “Office Politics” Recap & Review

All Photos © 2010 - FOX
House “Office Politics” was one of those episodes that left me wondering just what exactly I watched. It certainly wasn’t the show that I came to love years ago during its first few seasons. The patient of the week was uninteresting, House’s (Hugh Laurie) behavior has become a cliché, Cuddy has become a study in cleavage, and we get yet another new character for House to mess with her head. There’s really nothing compelling to see here.

The case involves a senator’s campaign manager Joe Dugan (Jack Coleman) who suddenly develops a weird rash and then his liver and kidneys begin to fail. At the time House gets the case, Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) has decided that she’s going to hire a replacement doctor for House’s team – Martha M. Masters (Amber Tamblyn), who is a young genius third year medical student. Cuddy thinks that Masters will develop into a superstar doctor like House, and House just looks at Masters as another doctor he can annoy and antagonize. Besides the fact that Amber Tamblyn will probably still look 16 years old when she’s forty, her attire is laughable and is more reflective of a chubby 25 year old trying to fit into and wear the clothes of a skinny 12 year old. If Masters is supposed to have such extensive education at her young age, certainly she had been exposed to adults who dress in a manner that is not like an 8th grader. Masters should have picked up some wardrobe tips by now.

House is skeptical and cautious about Masters and does his usual routine where he badgers her. He repeatedly fires and re-hires Masters, which after the first time, just became silly. Of course, no matter how many time he fires her she still seems to be sticking around the hospital, clearly feeling that Cuddy is protecting her. She also has strict ethics which seem to shock – SHOCK! – House. Those ethics are what makes House think that she will compromise his treatment of the patient. Masters shows her naiveté when she seems clueless on why House doesn’t always want to tell the patient the truth, and this should have been something she should clearly have understood after going to med school for 3 years.

While Foreman (Omar Epps), Chase (Jesse Spencer), and Taub (Peter Jacobson) do their usual routine of breaking into a house to get information about what could be causing the patient’s illness, Martha refuses to even enter the house. She knows it’s wrong to do so. Later, when the doctors have to go back to the house for more information, Martha does not go. Mysteriously, it’s the first time ever that the three doctors get arrested for breaking in. Was this simply a coincidence? I wonder if Martha called the police and tipped them off, but that’s just me. Did House possibly call someone and tip them off, hoping the doctors would think it was Masters who ratted them out? Maybe I missed something, but I think that the whole arrest thing was orchestrated by someone. I’m surprised that Foreman, Chase, or Taub never seemed to have any suspicions about why they were arrested this time, right after Masters had expresses concerns about the process.
The patient – remember the patient? – is getting worse while House plays office politics with his team and with Cuddy. The team suspects Dugan has contracted Hep C from the Senator and that Dugan and the (male) Senator have had an intimate relationship. But, it seems they find an excuse that the Hep C was transmitted via using the same straw to snort coke. House finds a way to fake some test results so he can try a risky treatment – he uses an excuse to draw the Senator’s blood and passes it off as Dugan’s. House also manages to get Martha to convince Dugan to undergo the risky treatment, and Martha can do so by not compromising her ethics. She likely played right into House’s hands. He officially hires her, of course.

But trouble looms for House when Cuddy realizes that House has faked Dugan’s test results in order to justify the risky test. She’s coming to the conclusion that her cleavage alone won’t make House change his ways.

Despite the fact that House has hired Martha, I am sure we can expect that his constant testing of her will not stop. He’ll likely treat her as he does the rest of the team. And this is where the series is getting a little old and tired. Is this all there is to House – is he just a control freak who has to belittle everyone that works for them, testing them at every step under the guise of making them better doctors or curing his patient? House is still an addict in a way – an addict to verbally abusing people and messing with their heads. With a very brief appearance of Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) toward the end of the episode, even Wilson looks like he’s tired of the whole routine. The show needs a transfusion – not from new characters but of a new storyline and a new direction for House. We need less of Cuddy’s cleavage, less of House’s sex life with Cuddy, and less of House’s need to demean. I could live with keeping the latter, but in my diagnosis is the Cuddy storyline is killing this show.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Fringe: Is “Walternate” Evil or a Victim of Tragedy? (Video)

From Fox, here’s a video short featuring members of the cast of Fringe – Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick, and of course John Noble, giving some insight on what may make the alternate universe’s Walter – The Secretary, AKA “Walternate” – tick. No wonder he’s out to destroy “our” universe; Walter took his son and in the process has caused the alternate universe all kinds of problems in the process. You may want to feel sorry for him – but - somehow I think there is even more to the whole story. Enjoy the video!

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Fringe “Amber 31422” Recap & Review

All photos from Fox

Fringe “Amber 31422” takes place in the alternate universe, and Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is starting to have stronger feelings that this is not her true home. It’s another excellent episode which has Olivia working a case that, without her realizing, parallels her own situation. The story is about twins – one trapped in amber for years, the other twin taking over his identity and living his life, but eventually breaking his brother free. The episode also uses the "Twin Towers" as a trigger for Olivia to help her recall who she really is. Fringe does an exceptional job of using each case to advance the bigger story, and at the same time, brings depth to each character. For TV watchers who like a continuing story and also like a touch of science fiction, it’s the best show on television.

In this episode, the alternate Fringe Division is called to work a case where someone has breached the security and managed to release someone who was encased in amber. That amber is what helps quarantine an area affected by a breach from the other side. It seems that a man has released his twin brother from the amber and in the process, one of the people who was assisting in the "escape" gets trapped in the amber when the quarantine reseals itself. It seems that the twin who was in the amber was not the bank robber that people thought was trapped in there – it was the “good” twin. The “evil” twin (the real bank robber) was rescuing his brother, as he felt guilt over having his brother trapped in there all those years while he stayed out and assumed his identity. Confusing, I know. Because I had a hard time matching which twin was which, I’ll just call them “good” or “evil” twin (and add they were played by Aaron Ashmore and Shawn Ashmore).

The Secretary/”Walternate” (John Noble) is also beginning his experiments on Olivia to see exactly how she can travel between universes. Of course, he knows who she really is, but doesn’t know that Olivia is having suspicions that she is not from their world. The visions of Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), who offers her insights into her real mind and memories, are becoming more frequent.

While working the case trying to track down the twin taken from the amber, Olivia, Lincoln (Seth Gabel) and Charlie (Kirk Acevedo) head to the home of the man who got trapped in amber when the twin was removed, and they find a secret room with lasers and drills. Lincoln thinks it is for a device that would allow a person to walk through walls. While they are there, Olivia hears a noise and then she urges them to get out of the house fast. Just as they get out the door, the house explodes.

Walternate tells Broyles (Lance Reddick) that the people trapped in amber can be extracted and revived, and they are trapped in their final memory as the amber encased them. Walternate does not want the public knowing that. There is a danger, though, that removing someone from the amber weakens its structural integrity of the amber.

Olivia is also undergoing her first of Walternate’s tests in the sensory deprivation tank and the drugs which will hopefully give them insight on how she can shift between universes. She makes a short trip back and finds herself standing soaking wet in a gift shop and she drops a snow globe. It’s a short trip but Walternate is pleased that she did cross over.

Olivia begins to show the signs of “our” Olivia – the rule breaker who pushes boundaries. Peter appears and hints that Walternate is testing Olivia because they already know who she is and knows she can cross over. When Peter gives her a clue about how the twins could be fooling them by switching, Olivia pushes hard when questioning the twin they have in custody. That, combined with her mother’s (Amy Madigan) concerns that Olivia came back to work too soon, has Broyles telling her to go home. What Olivia doesn’t realize is that Peter’s advice on how the twins could be fooling them could also apply to her own situation, but this seems to dawn on her more and more as things progress.

Olivia bounces her theories of the twin switch with Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and asks her for possible bank targets with less human collateral. Astrid comes up with three. Meanwhile, the “evil” twin appears to be breaking into a bank, one of the banks in Astrid’s target list. Olivia gets there and when she finds "evil" twin trying to break in, he uses a taser-like device and knocks her out. But as "evil" twin opens up a hole in the wall, the warning sounds for an imminent breach. They hear the alarm at Fringe Division, and Astrid tells Broyles that Olivia was right.

When “good” twin arrives at the bank, he sees an unconscious Olivia but races inside where he confronts his brother. It seems his brother has no intention of robbing the bank, he just wants them to stop looking for him and allow his “good” brother his freedom. As his "good" brother was trapped in the amber for years in “evil” twin’s place, “evil” twin wants to set things right and be encased in the amber, calling his action his “one good thing. ”Good" twin runs out, and lucky for Olivia, Lincoln and Charlie revive Olivia and get her out of the subway area before they are all encased in amber. Afterwards, Broyles tells Olivia she broke protocol, but adds that she did a good job.

Later, when Olivia pays a visit to “good” twin, she tells them they found “evil” twin trapped in the amber. They shake hands. In doing so, she collected a skin sample and asks him what he thinks it would show. But, she seems to think about what it would mean for him, and then tells him the case is closed. As she walks back to her car, Peter appears and tells her she let him go because she understood what being trapped is like. She responds to Peter, saying he has no proof. He tells her she knows things only the real Olivia would know, things like Rachel and Ella being alive on the other side, that it’s Ella’s birthday, and that the twin towers have been destroyed. Peter says there is a way to prove it.

Olivia races back to the lab and tells Brandon (Ryan James McDonald ) she wants to go back in the tank. As she’s in there, Walternate arrives and Brandon tells him about a synthetic compound he found in Olivia’s brain. She then goes critical and finds herself back in the gift shop, soaking wet. The snow globe also breaking again. She sees a post card commemorating the Twin Towers and as she looks to the skyline she sees they're gone. She also picks up a telephone and dials a phone number. Ella answers, and is happy that her Aunt Olivia remembered her birthday. But before Olivia can say much more, she is yanked back to the other side, and Walternate is there as she is pulled out of the tank. She tells him that this time it didn’t work – all she saw was black. But that is not where viewers are left this week; while Olivia tells Walternate she saw black, we have the benefit of knowing that now “our” Olivia may see a way out!

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

TBS’ New “Glory Daze” May Relive Your College Years

TBS has a new comedy series starting on November 16 called “Glory Daze”
that could have you flashing back to your own college days. Here are the details from TBS plus a video “behind the scenes” look at the show. Be sure to check your local listings for the time “Glory Daze” airs in your area!

GLORY DAZE follows the fun -- and awkward -- misadventures of four freshmen as they navigate college life, trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Joel (Kelly Blatz) is a typical guy next door who is determined to keep his focus on pre-med, at least until he meets his unattainable dream girl, Christie (Julianna Guill). Eli (Matt Bush) is a virgin who desperately wants to be cool. Jason (Drew Seeley) is a buttoned-downed conservative, attached at the hip to his preppy girlfriend. Brian (Hartley Sawyer) is a star baseball player struggling to get out of his father's shadow. Together, the guys agree to check out fraternity houses, finally coming to the steps of Omega Sigma, where they are greeted by pledge recruiter Mike (Callard Harris). Intrigued by the fraternity's cool factor, their fate is sealed. They begin a journey that will make a lifetime of memories.

Behind the Scenes

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Don Draper Says “What?” (A Suggested Emmy Reel for Jon Hamm?)

It just shows the acting skill of Jon Hamm that he can take one word – “what” – and say it so many ways for such varying dramatic effect. Mad Men fans should enjoy the video compilation below of an example of “what” Jon Hamm – as Don Draper – can do. The last example should leave you laughing!

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Monday, November 1, 2010

IRT Deadliest Roads: Literal Edge of Your Seat Viewing

All photos from History.com
The “History” channel has, over the years, become less about past history and more about making its own. I’m not a fan of reality shows but I began watching “Ice Road Truckers” during its first season out of boredom, and found that I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure, the scenarios seemed staged and over-dramatized, but the series featured something that naturally puts me on edge – driving in blinding snow.

Some of the Ice Road Truckers have gone on to some new roads that aren’t anything like the ice roads, hence the new show’s title IRT Deadliest Roads..The roads they travel are in India in the Himalayas, with some of the twistiest, windiest, narrowest, most close to the edge roads you’ll ever see. The truckers drive two routes, called the NH21 and NH22. Sections of these roads literally hand on the edge of a cliff, some having “cut-outs” that have barely enough room for one vehicle to travel. Some areas also have colorful names invoking the danger in driving these roads, with names like "Freefall Freeway," "Breakaway Bend," "The Ledge" and "Angry Mountain."
The season began with three drivers, Rick Yemm, Lisa Kelly, and Alex Deborgorski, all alumni of driving the Ice Roads. Alex dropped out quickly due to having some accidents and resulting encounters with agitated locals. Dave Redmon, a trucker from Alabama, has replaced him.

Despite Rick and Lisa’s experience in driving the harrowing ice roads, nothing quite prepared them for the traffic and the harrowing driving conditions. Both almost seemed on the edge of quitting themselves. Dave also is unnerved by the roads and the crazy drivers, but seems to be handling it better than Rick and Lisa did in their initial outings. All of them have to drive wooden framed trucks that would be no match for a drop off a cliff.
Each driver is also paired with a spotter who is there to assist in navigating traffic and navigating the locals. At some point, each one of the spotters seems to have gotten on the nerves of the drivers.

Rick Yemm, the hot headed driver from Ice Road Truckers, has mellowed out a bit, but still has a "loose cannon" edge to him. He recently revealed that his 21 year old daughter has cystic fibrosis and is very ill, and Rick seemed to want to quit. But reassurances from his wife keep Rick on the road. Rick has gone from being the driver you wished would get fired in Ice Road Truckers to the guy who now has a soft spot and viewers may be rooting for him. Lisa continues to show that she can conquer her fears, and Dave seems to be keeping his cool, although I think his spotter will drive him over the edge before his truck goes over.

The show is crafted to feature dizzying camera angles which highlight the sheer cliffs and long drops to the bottom. Some of the scenery is beautiful, despite the dangerous look to the roads. If you don’t like heights, this may not be the show for you. But, if you’re looking for something to break the Sunday night TV boredom, this is quite an engaging show to watch. Just be sure you’re tied into your seat for the ride.

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